France’s armed forces chief has resigned after a public dispute with President Emmanuel Macron over proposed defence budget cuts.
In a statement, Pierre de Villiers said he was no longer able to keep the armed forces fit for an ever more difficult task within the financial constraints placed on it.
De Villiers used strong language to protest at the 850 million euro defence budget cut Macron wants to make to rein in state spending.
Macron, who is Commander-in-Chief of France’s armed forces, reportedly said he had made commitments and reminded him “I am your boss.”
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An Elysee source reaffirmed Marcon’s position on Wednesday.
“We cannot have public disagreement. That’s how our institutions work,” the source said, reminding the military of their “sense of duty and reserve.”
Pierre de Villiers was Chief of Staff for three and a half years and is known for his frank talk.
In his resignation letter he said he was no longer able to guarantee the robust defence force he believes is necessary to guarantee the protection of France and the French.