France adds $2B to defense budget, moving closer to NATO spending target

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PARIS ― France has added €1.8 billion (U.S. $2.1 billion) funding to its 2018 defense budget to hit €34.2 billion as part of a planned rise in military spending over the next five years, the Economy and Finance Ministry said.

Asset sales will add further funds to bring total defense spending next year to €34.4 billion, the ministry added.

That 2018 budget compares to an initial 2017 defense budget of €32.7 billion, which recently took an unexpected cut of €850 million on equipment orders in a bid to trim government spending.

The €1.8 billion boost will raise defense spending to 1.82 percent of gross domestic product, compared to 1.77 percent this year, in an attempt to reach some €50 billion by 2025, excluding pensions, which is the 2 percent target set by NATO.