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Macron says French defence spending to rise in 2018

PARIS, July 13 (Reuters) - President Emmanuel Macron pledged on Thursday to start increasing French military spending from next year in order to reach a target of two percent of economic output by 2025, despite budgetary constraints.

“It’s a considerable effort, considering the current context of budgetary constraints,” Macron said in a defense policy speech.

Macron and his government have trimmed the 2017 defense budget in an effort to ensure France meets its commitment to bring its budget deficit below the EU cap of 3 percent of national income in 2017.

He said 2018 would mark the start of a new phase of increased defence spending.

France’s defense spending will reach 34.2 billion euros ($38.98 billion) in 2018, including 650 million for external operations, Macron said. ($1 = 0.8773 euros) (Reporting by Michel Rose; editing by Richard Lough)