President Emmanuel Macron on Friday announced plans to increase France’s defense budget by a third for the next seven years, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year rattled Europe.
He said he would ask parliament to approve a new budget of more than 400 billion euros ($430 billion) for 2024-2030, up from 295 billion euros for the 2019-2025 period.
“After repairing the armies, we are going to transform them,” he told members of the armed forces at the southwestern air base of Mont-de-Marsan.
Macron also said the budget for military intelligence would be increased by 60 percent for the same period while the country would boost its capacity to respond to cyberattacks.
Paris has boosted defense spending in recent years, but its military capacities have come under scrutiny since Russia in February last year invaded pro-western Ukraine.
France has delivered weapons to Ukraine since the invasion, and has pledged highly-mobile AMX-10 RC light tanks.
The announcement came a day after more than a million people protested in France against a proposed reform to cut pensions deficits.
The pensions plan presented by Macron’s government last week would raise the retirement age for most from 62 — among the lowest in the European Union — to 64 and would increase the years of contributions required for a full pension.
Opinion polls show that around two-thirds of French people oppose raising the retirement age, a move that comes amid a rising cost of living and during recovery from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.