PARIS (PA) —
France’s parliament on Thursday approved a multibillion-euro increase in military spending for the rest of this decade, spurred by Russia’s war in Ukraine and rapidly growing global threats.
President Emmanuel Macron has pushed for a bigger budget, which would spend 413 billion euros ($450 billion), the largest spending hike in half a century. The money would modernize France’s nuclear arsenal, increase intelligence spending and develop more remote-controlled weapons.
He argued that the boost was necessary to ensure “our freedom, our security, our prosperity, our place in the world”. The defense minister compared it to France’s push in the 1960s to develop nuclear weapons, making the country one of the world’s greatest military powers.
The new military plan includes doubling the number of military reservists and strengthening cyber defense, as well as increasing the capacity to produce weapons both to help Ukraine and to ensure adequate supplies for the army. French.
The new budget for the period 2024-2030 is more than a third higher than the last military spending plan of 295 billion euros for 2019-2025.
The bill won final approval in the divided National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, on Wednesday by a vote of 244 to 37, and it was approved by the conservative-led Senate on Thursday by 313 votes to 17.
Macron’s centrist alliance doesn’t have a majority in either house of parliament, but military officers have long lamented cuts in military spending, while conservative and far-right parties tend to back investments in defence.
Macron is due to speak to defense officials later Thursday, on the eve of July 14 celebrations that include an elaborate Parisian parade featuring troops, warplanes and military equipment.