France hikes defence spending, inches towards Nato goal

The French National Assembly approved in first reading an increase of 1,8 billion euros in defence spending in 2018. Every year until 2022 the defence budget will increase of 1,7 billion euros in order to reach the 2% NATO target.

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly called it an « unprecedented effort ». Most of the additional defence spending will go towards renewing military transporters, fighter jets and other equipment used in anti-terror operations in west Africa and the Middle East.

The French MP from the Presidential majority (La République en marche), Jean-Charles Larsonneur, explained that “the increase of spending will allow the purchase of one MUSIS satellite, two transport aircrafts, 8 Caymans helicopters, 5 Eurocopters Tiger, 3 Rafale, 3 Griffon”.

The increase comes after this year’s cut of 850 million euros, which triggered a row between French President Emmanuel Macron and armed forces chief General Pierre de Villiers.

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly, auditioned by the Foreign Affairs committee in the French Senate, justified that the “cuts” of this summer were a united effort in order to reduce the deficit. The budget cuts only delayed the programs and projects. She added that “this budget is a good basis for the new military planning law (2019-2025)”, which will be ready for February 2018 and hopefully enacted during the next summer. This law will have 3 main objectives: restoring the ongoing responsibility, investing in the future and support french soldiers.

The French MP from right wing party Les Republicains, Charles de La Verpillière welcomes the increase of the budget for 2018, but said that his political party (which is the most numerous opposition party in the French National Assembly) “has doubts and is worried about the 2017 budget fulfilment” because of the “850 million euros cut for 2017”, which “reduces the real increase of the 2018 defence budget”.


Photo credit: © French Senate / Florence Parly auditioned by the Senate

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