French armed forces chief quits ‘I won’t be f***ed’ after clash with Macron over budget cuts

The Military Chief of France Pierre de Villiers resigned after an open conflict with President Emmanuel Macron over defense spending. Chief publicly complained about Macron’s cuts stating that “he won’t be f***ed like that”.

As cited by French Media De Villiers Said “In the current circumstances I see myself as no longer able to guarantee the robust defense force I believe is necessary to guarantee the protection of France and the French people, today and tomorrow, and to sustain the aims of our country,”

He told the media that Mr. President has accepted his resignation as well.

The conflict between Chief of the armed forces and President came on surface when in earlier July the Budget Minister of France Mr. Gerald Darmanin announced military budget cuts.

€850 million (US$980 million) savings were expected by the proposed budget cut. The Interior minister and Foreign ministers also had to face budget cuts.

It was told that “authorities have found €4.5 billion in savings… solely in the national government” and promised that neither social security nor local authorities “will come into it.” 

De Villiers, 60, protested the cuts before the parliamentary committee.

“I won’t let myself be f***ed like that,” he said according to press, citing two parliamentary sources. “I may be stupid, but I know when I am being had.”

Macron slapped down De Villiers, saying that he has “have made commitments” and he was De Villiers’ boss during his traditional annual address to the army where top army officers and their families were present.

“I have made commitments, I am your boss,” he said

“If the [Armed Forces] chief of staff has an issue with the President of the Republic, the chief of staff will be changed,” Macron added in an interview to Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

“Armies basically obey. So in substance the president was within his rights to restate his authority… But the way he did it will leave marks. You cannot publicly question a military leader like that in front of his subordinates,” former chief of the French armed forces Henri Bentégeat told Le Monde newspaper.

“When Macron attends the first ceremony for a soldier killed because of a lack of equipment, all the criticism will be directed at him,” Bentégeant added.

 

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