France eyes five billion euro defence cuts
(PARIS) - France will trim about five billion euros (6.1 billion dollars) from its defence budget, Defence Minister Herve Morin said Monday.
The defence budget cuts over the next three years are part of overall belt-tightening measures in the wake of the Greek debt crisis.
"There is a difference of close to five billion euros over three years" between the draft defence budget and the ceiling for expenses set by Prime Minister Francois Fillon, the minister told La Tribune newspaper.
The draft defence budget called for expenses of 377 billion euros.
Fillon last month announced that France will impose a freeze on central government spending for three years from 2011.
The minister told journalists at a defence industry trade show that France still wants to provide its armed forces with new military equipment.
"We will continue to consider that equipping our forces is a priority," said Morin at the trade show near Paris.