France commits to boosting defence spending by 35% over six years Feb 09, 2018 0 375 12345 REUTERSPARISFRANCE plans to increase defence spending by more than a third between 2017 and 2025 with the aim of meeting a NATO target of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on the sector.Presenting the multi-year military spending plan on Thursday, the Armed Forces Ministry said its budget would increase by 1.8 percent to 34.2 billion euros this year, in line with commitments already set out by President Emmanuel Macron. The annual increase is forecast to hold steady at 1.7 percent between 2019 and 2022, before jumping by 3.0 percent in 2023, the year after Macron's current presidential mandate ends.By then, the defence budget is expected to stand at 44 billion euros, 35.8 percent higher than last year's level.In substance, the defence spending plan is built around greater investment in equipment and training to combat domestic and international threats from terrorism, while sustaining a powerful land, sea and air capability."I want a strong France, in charge of its own destiny, protective of its citizens and its interests,"Macron said last month in a new year's address to the military."For that, we need a full defence capability, a modern, powerful force that is responsive and looks to the future."The promise to raise spending comes six months after France's armed forces chief resigned following a dispute with Macron over budget cuts, a fracas that was partly a test of wills between the president and Pierre de Villiers.Macron said at the time that the cuts - an 850 million euro reduction in defence spending - had to be made in order to get the public deficit below the EU target of 3 percent of gross domestic product. That goal now looks set to be achieved.While Macron's commitment to meeting NATO's 2-percent target will be cheered at NATO headquarters and in Washington, it remains unclear whether other major contributors in Europe will step up to the same extent. POST A COMMENT RELATED ARTICLES Soros donation to halt Brexit causes storm in Britain Feb 09, 2018 0 85 Merkel under fire from own ranks over coalition deal with centre-left Feb 09, 2018 0 71 EU lawmakers want review of summer clock switch Feb 09, 2018 0 70 Popular French minister denies sex harassment rumours AFP PARIS France's environment minister Nicolas Hulot furiously fended off rumours of sexual harassment on Thursday two weeks after another member of President Emmanuel Macron's cabinet was accused of rape. .. Spain pledges Brexit won't change daily Gibraltar life AFP MADRID SPAIN'S foreign minister pledged on Thursday that daily life in Gibraltar would not be affected by Brexit, easing fears that Madrid would use Britain's exit from the EU to gain authority over the .. Hungarian police investigate fraud in EU-funded projects REUTERS BUDAPEST Hungarian prosecutors have launched an investigation into European Union-funded projects investigated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and run by a company once controlled by the .. No evidence of Russian interference in Brexit referendum, says YouTube REUTERS WASHINGTON YouTube found no evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum, a senior executive told a British parliamentary committee inquiry into fake news. Britain's Digital, Media, ..