July 19, 2017 / 11:42 AM / 3 years ago

Macron says French defense budget to rise by 2025

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron, whose armed forces chief quit on Wednesday in a row over short-term spending cuts, confirmed after naming a replacement that he still intended to raise the defense budget over time, a government spokesman said.

Spokesman Christophe Castaner said resigning General Pierre de Villiers would be replaced within 24 hours by General Francois Lecointre, a seasoned fighter born in 1962.

Macron, he said, had named Lecointre and also told ministers at a weekly cabinet meeting that he was still aiming to raise the defense budget to 2 percent of gross domestic product by 2025 despite cutbacks in 2017.

Reporting by Brian Love and Michel Rose; editing by John Irish

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