France keeps defense budget flat, 34,000 job cuts over 5 years

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 29, 2013 5:46 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - France will keep its defense budget broadly stable for the next five years, after meeting stiff resistance from lawmakers and the army to proposed cuts, although the flat budget will mean 34,000 job losses by 2019.

A five-year blueprint for military strategy published on Monday said, "in total, from 2014 to 2019, the defense ministry will have to reduce its staff by about 34,000 people," in a broad outline of defense priorities.

The "White Paper", which covers the period from the start of 2014 to the end of 2018, maintains 2014 spending at 31.4 billion euros ($40.90 billion), equivalent to 1.5 percent of GDP, and sets a budget for the five-year period of 179.2 billion euros.

The defense ministry has borne the brunt of government cuts in recent years, seeing its annual budget decline from about 2.5 percent of economic output after the Cold War. ($1 = 0.7676 euros)

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Catherine Bremer)