France’s Chief of Staff Quits After a Row With Macron

The head of French armed forces disagreement with Macron over military spending resulted in his resignation

The Chief of French armed forces, General Pierre De Villiers, resigned on Wednesday after his disagreement with President Emmanuel Macron over cuts to France’s military budget.

De Villiers presented his resignation to Macron on Wednesday morning. In a public statements after his resignation, De Villiers said he no longer felt able to command the sort of army “that I think is necessary to guarantee the protection of France and the French people”.

Earlier, Macron and De Villiers came into open conflict over spending cuts that aim to slash defense ministry spending by €850 million, mainly on the cost of equipment.

The cuts are a part of Macron’s plans to make significant savings in order to get France’s finances under control.

De Villiers openly protested the cuts before the president’s council of defence and the parliament’s own defence commission. The general was even reported by the French media to have used the phrase “I won’t let you fuck me like that” (Je ne me laisserai pas baiser comme ça).

Dissatisfied with De Villiers comments, Macron then apparently told his military chiefs: “I am your boss”.

“I don’t need pressure or commentary”, Macron said, telling them he plans to stick to his commitments.

In a later newspaper interview Macron said: ““If the [Armed Forces] chief of staff has an issue with the President of the Republique, it is the chief of staff who will change his position.”

De Villiers resignation marks the first major crisis of Macron’s Presidency, since he took office in May. Macron came under criticism from his political opponents, including his Presidential rival and Front National leader Marine Le Pen.

She said that the French military had lost “a man of huge value” and claimed the resignation showed “the very serious abuses and worrying limits” of the president’s leadership.

Benoit Hammon, another Presidential candidate in this year’s election, wrote on Twitter that: “The resignation of Pierre de Villiers after the announcement of budgetary cuts to the army is Emmanuel Macron’s new work of art.”

Macron, who defeated Le Pen in the presidential election run off on May 7th, became youngest head of state in modern French history. A former investment banker, Macron has been accused of serving the interests of banks and corporations.

Source: The Local.fr

Photo: AFP