Proposed cuts to France’s military spending met with stiff resistance from lawmakers and the army on Monday, although the flat budget of 179.2 billion euros over a five-year-period will mean at least 24,000 job losses by 2019.
France will keep its defence budget broadly stable for the next five years, after meeting stiff resistance from lawmakers and the army to proposed cuts, although the flat budget will mean cutting nearly ten percent of defence jobs by 2019.
A five-year blueprint for military strategy published on Monday foresees at least 24,000 job cuts in addition to the 54,000 announced in the last white paper in 2008, written under the former president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
The "White Paper", which covers the period from the start of 2014 to the end of 2018, maintains 2014 spending at 31.4 billion euros ($40.90 billion), equivalent to 1.5 percent of GDP, and sets a budget for the five-year period of 179.2 billion euros.
President François Hollande's Socialist government is battling to reduce state spending by 60 billion euros over its five-year term, and was forced in March to order ministries to save an extra 5 billion in 2014 as its deficit target receded.
"This new White Paper puts the emphasis on three priorities of our strategy: protection, dissuasion and intervention," Hollande told reporters. “France wants to maintain its ability to react alone”.
The review comes at a sensitive time for France, a permanent U.N. Security Council member and nuclear power.
Its military has won plaudits for rapid intervention in Mali to help its former colony drive back Islamist rebels. At the same time, the operation highlighted its limitations in mid-air refuelling, troop transportation and intelligence gathering.
The defence ministry has borne the brunt of government cuts in recent years, seeing its annual budget decline from about 2.5 percent of economic output after the Cold War
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-04-29