Top Stories
Top Stories
Europe News

After Nice attack, De Villepin says military action not the answer to terror threat

De Villepin: Military intervention can't be the only solution to terror

France's former prime minister Dominique de Villepin has delivered a damning verdict on the U.K's new leader, and criticized Germany for its management of Europe's financial troubles.

In a wide-ranging interview, de Villepin also appeared to suggest that ramping up military activity in Iraq and Syria, as French President Francois Hollande promised to do after the attack in Nice on Friday, may not be the right response to Europe's terror threat.

Theresa May, who replaced David Cameron on Thursday as Britain's prime minister, lacked a strong sense of urgency and had "no idea of what she should do" in response to the U.K's vote to leave the European Union (EU), de Villepin told CNBC's Eunice Yoon on the sidelines of a conference in Beijing on Monday.

"This is always the problem. People get into a position of responsibility without having the knowledge, without being prepared," he said.

"The truth is we have been through this referendum in the U.K. and nobody has been exploring [the issue] of what [would happen] if [people voted for a] Brexit. So today it's an unprepared situation on both sides."

Both the U.K. and Europe needed to find a solution to the consequences of Brexit to avoid adverse consequences to economy, he said.

Theresa May
Oli Scarff | Getty Images

"The people feel we are not answering their questions, so we need to hear, we need to answer and we need to take decisions," the former French leader said. De Villepin was prime minister of France between 2005-2007 in the government of Jacques Chirac.

Urging greater cooperation between European countries, de Villepin said there was no one solution to the financial difficulties currently faced in Europe, such as Greece's ongoing debt crisis and the capital issues in the Italian banking sector. In particular, he noted that a German-led insistence on austerity measures had not resolved the issues.

"We [mainly Germany and France] have to understand…Germany must understand that waiting never solves anything and the policy of austerity is not answering the problems of the European people," he said.

Similarly, countries should not see military intervention as the only solution to terrorism, the seasoned lawmaker said. France is currently reeling from its second major terror attack in less than a year, after 84 people were killed on Friday by an attacker who drove a truck into a crowd watching fireworks in Nice in the south of France.

"We need to have a political assessment of the problem of terrorism and a political response," de Villepin said. "We need to understand that whenever we hit targets in the Middle East or in Africa, this has consequences in our countries. "

Hollande vowed on Friday that France would ramp up its military activity in Iraq and Syria as part of the fight against terrorism.

Follow CNBC International on and Facebook.