Macron announces plans to boost French defence spending to €400bn

© REUTERS - POOL

President Emmanuel Macron has announced plans to increase France's defence budget by a third for the next seven years. He said he would ask parliament to approve a new budget of €400 billion for the period 2024-2030, up from €295 billion for 2019-2025.

The announcement came just one day after French trade unions mobilised record numbers of protesters against pension reform, scheduled to cover the same period to 2030.

If the timing of the spending increase could be seen as indelicate in the light of this week's nationwide protests against proposals to save money by making the French work longer, the coincidence is unfortunate rather than provocative.

The president was in the south-west town of Mont-de-Marsan on Friday to make his traditional New Year's address to the armed forces.

The budget details he revealed are contained in the proposed Military Development Law, and are the result of years of work and wide consultation.

Adapting to new warfare

The legislation has been long anticipated, especially in the light of deficiencies in France's defence highlighted by the war in Ukraine.

The new budget is intended to modernise France's military in the face of multiple potential new threats, the president said on Friday.


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