France to boost defence budget by 1.6 bn euros in 2018


France will boost defence spending next year by 1.6 billion euros, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Thursday, just two months after a row over planned cuts to the budget triggered the resignation of the armed forces chief.

Philippe said it was the biggest increase in six years.

“This will be continued in 2019 and 2020 because the world we are living in is dangerous,” he told BFM television.

President Emmanuel Macron was plunged into a dispute in July, just two months into his presidency when then army chief General Pierre de Villiers protested at government plans to slash 850 million euros (R12.80 billion) from this year’s defence budget.

Macron publicly rebuked de Villiers, who then quit, and the president sought to reassure the troops of his backing despite the cuts.

France’s military is engaged in operations against jihadists in Syria, Iraq and west Africa while also defending against terror attacks on home soil.

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