France has unveiled plans to boost defence spending by more than a third between 2017 and 2025 in an “unprecedented effort” to meet Nato commitments and modernise its army and nuclear deterrent, reports The Telegraph.
Presenting the multi-year military spending plan, the defence ministry said it would pump €295 billion (£260bn) into bolstering its armed forces between 2019 and 2025, after already raising the budget by 1.8 per cent to €34.3bn this year.
The annual increase is forecast to remain at 1.7 per cent between 2019 and 2022 to reach €44 billion that year, before jumping by three per cent in 2023 - conveniently, detractors will say, the year after President Emmanuel Macron's five-year term ends.
The aim is to meet France’s commitment to spend two per cent of gross domestic product on defence. "I want a strong France, in charge of its own destiny, protective of its citizens and its interests," Mr 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," he said, calling the spending rise an "unprecedented budgetary effort".
European Nato members have come under pressure from President Donald Trump to shoulder more defence costs to relieve the burden on the United States, which currently accounts for about 70 per cent of combined Nato defence spending.
The spending increase will place France roughly on a par with the UK, which has already met, and in recent cases surpassed, its two per cent spending pledge.