How Macron's row with top general lifts curtain on labour law reforms

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President Emmanuel Macron’s government last week announced a package of public spending cuts, including 850 million euros to be slashed from France’s 2017 defence budget in an effort to bring the public deficit to below 3% of GDP, as demanded by the EU. That prompted a furious reaction from the French military’s chief-of-staff, General Pierre de Villiers, who was subsequently publicly slapped down by Macron, reminding the general who is “the boss”. In this wry analysis of the spat and the controversy it has provoked, Mediapart political commentator Hubert Huertas sees an illustration of political gymnastics by Left and Right, but also a surprising insight into Macron’s forthcoming labour law reforms.

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UPDATE Wednesday July 19th: Following the publication of this article, General Pierre de Villiers on Wednesday resigned from his position as chief-of-staff of France's armed forces. He was replaced by General François Lecointre. Announcing his resignation, Pierre de Villiers said he took the decision because the announced cuts in military spending made him “no longer in a position to ensure the continuity of the model of the armed forces which I believe in”.