PARIS — The 2013 French defense budget has been set at 31.4 billion euros ($38.5 billion), including 1.2 billion from asset sales, in line with a government pledge to hold spending flat, a defense official said Aug. 2.
Some 6 billion euros of new equipment orders due in 2012 and 2013 has been postponed as part of efforts to cut the public deficit, the official said. The orders had been planned under the 2009-2014 multiyear military budget law.
The prime minister’s office said Aug. 2 budget letters have been sent to the government ministries, with spending held at the 2012 level.
The headline figure held steady at 30.2 billion euros compared with 2012, with 1.2 billion euros in exceptional revenues from the sale of frequencies and property.
Some 3.6 billion euros has been cut in the three-year 2011-2013 defense budget, Adm. Edouard Guillaud, chief of the Defense Staff, told the defense committee of the lower house National Assembly July 11.
If the principle of no real increase over inflation is pursued in the 2013-2015 three-year budget, that will result in a 10 billion euro spending cut relative to the 2008 white paper on defense and the total 377 billion euros for the 2009-2020 period, Guillaud said. That 10 billion euros is the equivalent of a year’s equipment spending.
Consumer price inflation was 1.9 percent at the end of June, the latest available figure.
During his election campaign François Hollande said defense would contribute “no more, no less” than other ministries to a drive to balance the budget, and military spending would not be the variable factor in the government’s budget plans.