French defence minister warns against further spending cuts

New budget cuts to France's military would have serious consequences for its ability to launch operations abroad and for its defence industry, the defence minister has warned in a letter to the prime minister.

French defence minister warns against further spending cuts

World Bulletin/News Desk

New budget cuts to France's military would have serious consequences for its ability to launch operations abroad and for its defence industry, the defence minister has warned in a letter to the prime minister.
 
"Our defence cannot absorb more cuts in 2014, be it to jobs or budgets," Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a letter dated May 9 to Prime Minister Manuel Valls, according to excerpts cited by newspaper Le Figaro and confirmed to Reuters by the minister's entourage.
 
He said any cuts would have a negative impact on the army's training and could lead to the bankruptcy of many small and medium-sized firms in the defence sector, the paper said.
 
The French government is looking for ways to cut public spending to bring its deficit below the European Union's ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), with Valls unveiling a 50 billion-euro ($68 billion) savings package earlier this year.
 
The military has sustained repeated budget cuts in recent years and is trying to overhaul the armed forces to create a more mobile army still capable of operating in two or three different theatres at the same time.
 
Last year, Le Drian clinched a deal whereby the overall budget was expected to remain largely static after military officials and lawmakers said drastic spending cuts would reduce France's ability to counter global security threats.
 
Valls said earlier this year he would respect the law that allocates 190 billion euros to the French army over the 2014-2019 period, but did not rule out "adjustments".
 
In the letter, Le Drian said that 82,000 jobs would have been cut in the ten years to 2019, Le Figaro said.
 
France's military employed some 228,000 personnel last year. A further 165,000 individuals were employed by the defence industry, not including sub-contractors.
Last Mod: 23 Mayıs 2014, 12:03
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