Tribune. We, naval writers who are committed to defending France’s maritime vocation, we are addressing you publicly, Mr President of the Republic, on a subject as serious as it is precise, but too little known to our fellow citizens concerned about their freedom and that of their country – that is to say, the operational maintenance of our national defense tool in an increasingly uncertain, volatile and dangerous world.
The Court of Justice of the European Union has just, on July 15, urged France to apply to our armies the European directive on working time against which you had rightly opposed until now. We urge you to do everything to refuse this diktat contrary to the interests of the nation. This directive undoubtedly represents progress for workers in the Union by extending their individual rights. However, it would deal a mortal blow to our defense if it were to be implemented among those who are in charge of protecting our democracy at the risk of their lives.
It assimilates our soldiers, airmen and sailors to workers “like the others” by drawing a line on their exceptional specificity. She wants to force them, without their having asked for anything, to prefer their personal interest to the collective mission to which they dedicate themselves body and soul – and without counting. This assimilation arouses their incomprehension and runs counter to their deepest convictions.
Size and servitude of the military profession
The soldiers continue to consider that the meaning of their commitment is above all to ensure the common good of their fellow citizens and the general interest of their country despite the dangers, vicissitudes and obligations encountered. They do not see themselves struggling with a working time limited to 48 hours per week, a minimum rest of 48 consecutive hours per week, a daily rest of 11 hours between two work sessions.
The absurdity of the incessant production of standards by our institutions which refuse to take into account the truth of the world. In the eyes of those who are the wall of our civilization, the time of service ends when the mission is completed. This is the rule. Size and servitude of the military profession.
Mr President, allow us here to remind our fellow citizens of some elements of understanding. In a country like ours, democratic and peaceful, the profession of arms requires, more than elsewhere, a double consent: to give death as to receive it, with the sole aim of defending the nation, that is to say something bigger than yourself.
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