French military chief de Villiers quits over budget dispute

  • Gen de Villiers is likely to be replaced Gen François Lecointre.
World

PARIS – The head of the French armed forces has quit in a dispute with President Emmanuel Macron over budget cuts.


Article continues after the advertisement

Gen Pierre de Villiers said in a statement Wednesday he could no longer “guarantee the durability of the army model” that he considered necessary to ensure France’s protection.

Macron’s office did not immediately comment.

De Villiers lashed out at new spending curbs during a closed-door parliamentary commission meeting last week, according to leaked reports.

Macron then publicly upbraided him, saying, “It is not dignified to air certain debates in the public sphere. I made commitments (to budget cuts). I am your boss.”

The pair had been scheduled to meet on Friday to try to sort out their differences.

Macron has promised to boost defence spending to two per cent of GDP by 2025 as part of France’s commitments to Nato, but his budget minister last week announced limits on this year’s military expenses.

Gen de Villiers is likely to be replaced Gen François Lecointre.