French armed forces chief quits over Macron's defence budget cuts

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Paris [France] ,July 19 (ANI): General Pierre de Villers, France's head of the armed forces has resigned after he came in direct public conflict with President Emmanuel Macron over proposed defence budget cuts. He added that his resignation has been accepted by the President. Gen de Villiers was said to have told a parliamentary committee he would not let the government "f*** with" him on spending cuts. De Villiers said he had sought to maintain a French defence force able to do an increasingly difficult job within the financial constraints imposed on it. "In the current circumstances I see myself as no longer able to guarantee the robust defense force I believe is necessary to guarantee the protection of France and the French people, today and tomorrow, and to sustain the aims of our country," Russia Today quoted De Villiers as saying. According to the proposed budget cuts, the Defense Ministry will have to make savings of €850 million (US$980 million). The clash between the French President and the chief of armed forces erupted last week when France's Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin has announced military budget cuts-€850 million cut to the defence budget in an effort to meet the EU's requirement that member states maintain their deficits at 3 percent of GDP. However, the Interior and Foreign Ministries also had to face budget cuts. In his first defence policy speech last week, Macron said he would not tolerate public dissent from the military. "I have made commitments, I am your boss," he said "If the Armed Forces chief of staff has an issue with the President of the Republic, the chief of staff will be changed," Macron added.(ANI)