France could use its nuclear capability to defend its neighbours, French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said in an interview Monday, while also urging European Union states to increase military spending.
She said that rogue states "could one day point their missiles toward France and its neighbours. We could say to those countries: 'Watch out, if you try to carry out your threats we will destroy you before you know what's hit you.'
"If Germany asked us for help, it is probable that European solidarity would come into play," she told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper, and added: "For us, nuclear weapons are the ultimate protection against a threat from abroad."
She said ethnic conflict and terrorism were making the world increasingly more unstable and called on EU members to increase their military budgets to two percent of gross domestic product -- NATO's minimum recommended level.