Defense Budget in decline : the government, Philippe has not kept its promises

No caramels, nor sweets, nor chocolates. For the ministry of Defence, the party seemed to be finished. As in the famous song by Dalida, the government of Edouard Philippe has not kept his words (“words, words, words”, sang Dalida). While France is at war on several fronts, the Hotel de Brienne will have to take the budget voted by the Parliament, which means de facto a reduction of expenses of 850 million euros in 2017. “It will be necessary to ensure the financing of external operations by finding cost savings elsewhere,” points out quietly in an interview granted to the Parisian minister of public Accounts Gérald Darmanin for that, ultimately, the stability pact is therefore more important that the security pact. The military, who play their lives in theatres of operation, will appreciate.

“We have asked the ministry of Defence to keep the budget that was voted on in 2017 by the Parliament, which leads to a reduction of the expenses of 850 million euros, has explained Gérald Darmanin in an interview with the Parisien. The budget does not decrease, but the envelope is passed must be respected. It will be necessary to ensure the financing of external operations by finding savings elsewhere”.

As usual, the ministry of Defence (or Armies) pay the brunt of the blow of the plane of the government (850 million out of a total of € 4.5 billion). Nearly 20% of the total amount saved. Finally nothing changes after a parenthesis of five years, the ministry of Defence remains alive and well variable fit preferred government officials. They have already forgotten the dead and the wounded of the long list of terrorist attacks in recent years, and neglect to protect the military on the theaters and the French on the national ground. In the Face of terrorism and its consequences, what is the worth of the Maastricht criteria ? War has a price, the blood does not…

What credibility?

How can I believe now to a promise of a defence effort at 2% of GDP in 2025 (50 billion euros, excluding pensions), two years after the end of the quinquennium. How to believe in the credibility of a trajectory going towards the famous 2%? As Gerald Darmanin promises already that the government is going to make even more savings in 2018 and what now for structural reforms to be carried out to achieve this. The government will present this Tuesday, a “trajectory” multi-annual budgeting to parliamentarians to ensure that the deficit will not exceed 3% of GDP or in 2017 or in 2018, in spite of the tax cuts.

However, the minister for the Armed forces Florence Parly has been authentic and honest Monday for his first press conference. It reiterated on this occasion that she would do everything possible to get “sufficient resources” for the defense, while leaving a lingering doubt on its margin of manoeuvre in a context of budget constrains. “I want to reaffirm my determination to complete to ensure that this ministry has the means to our politics, that which is defined by the head of State”, she explained during a press conference at the ministry at Balard.

“What I hope is that we will be able to free up sufficient resources. Satisfactory, it is a matter of description, but sufficient, it is the goal,” she said.

Parly has lost a battle

Florence Parly recalled the objective of the president and Emmanuel Macron to focus the effort of defence to 2% of GDP by 2025, which will represent a budget of 50 billion euros to the horizon against 32.7 billion in 2017. “The question is to know what success I remporterai. There is no doubt about my will,” noted the minister, emphasizing that the budgetary position of France was “not necessarily easy” but that of “our units.” The minister for the Armed forces suggested on Monday that these negotiations were more complicated because of the difficult budgetary situation of France.

She has just lost her first battle of the budget. And it hurts visibly. She cancelled on Tuesday a move on the air base of Mont-de-Marsan (Landes) to continue the delicate budget negotiations, was it indicated in his entourage. Florence Parly must in particular meet with the Prime minister Edouard Philippe in the morning.

“Because of budget negotiations in course, it remains to Paris to better prepare for the next elections”, a-t-on said.

Ways of reducing spending are also in the study, had already sketched out Monday. “We’ll ensure that we manage the best possible the standard of living of the department to reduce, intelligently, what can be”, she said. Except that the ministry of Defence restructures for more than 20 years unlike many of the other departments. And to say that the ministry of the Armed forces still has $ 2.7 billion of credits frozen. Bercy is also a gourmand than a glutton especially when the light is green.

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