General Pierre de Villiers is a venerable officer who decided to step down as the Military Chief on July 19, 2017. His decision was a consequence of the dispute he had with the youngest French President in history, Emmanuel Macron. The pretext is a financial support cut from the army that Macron intends to use to fix the budget deficit in his country. The president found a replacement for him a day after the resignation of de Villiers.
Emmanuel Macron and Former Military Chief Sparked Conflict on the Issue of Military Budget Cuts
On July 20, Francois Lecointre became the new Chief of Staff of the French Armed forces. This stepping stone for his career came after a controversial dispute between Emmanuel Macron and General Pierre de Villiers. The latter has made a reputation for himself for being honest even in the face of the most powerful person in France. However, his last criticism did not enjoy the same reaction as before.
It all started last week when de Villiers spoke plainly to a parliamentary committee that he was not on board with President’s plans to make compromises with the armed forces. Macron in his turn didn’t allow such comments to go away unnoticed.
On the contrary, in an effervescent urge that the leftist newspapers called as a power drunkenness, Macron answered to such disobedience on the eve of Bastille Day. Therefore, on Wednesday, the French President cast a reference to this incident by stating that the head of the armed forces has no right to question decisions coming from his superiors.
The French President Intends to Mend National Budget Before Boosting the Military One
As a consequence of such a confrontation, the former military chief decided to hand in his resignation. With this occasion, the general made one more commentary at the budget cuts. To his view, this decision can put in jeopardy the integrity of the military which is the only one that can assure the protection of French people.
These controversial defense cuts were decided with the goal to round up the total of €4.5 billion the French budget needs to fend off the deficit within EU limits. On the other hand, Macron promised in return to boost the military budget by at least €1 billion in 2018. On the other hand, the media has already interpreted this internal collision as the first mistake the new French President did since he won elections.
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