Military Chief Resigns After Row With President
He had his say now he has been shown the way out!
The row between Macron and General Pierre de Villiers erupted last week when the chief of staff told a parliamentary committee he would not allow the armed forces to be “screwed” by the government’s plans to slash 850 million euros ($980 million) from this year’s defence budget.
Macron, 39, slapped down the 60-year-old five-star general in front of army chiefs at their annual summer party last week, saying “I am the boss” and that he deeply regretted the budget dispute had been dragged into the “public sphere”.
De Villiers, a widely respected figure who had been in the job for three years and was popular with the rank and file, said he had no choice but to stand down.
“I no longer feel able to ensure the sustainability of the model of the armed forces that I think is necessary to guarantee the protection of France and the French people,” he said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Macron stood by his handling of the disagreement, telling France 2 television that de Villiers was a “fine soldier” it was “not the role” of the chief of staff to question the budget.
The president also reiterated his promise to raise the defence budget again in 2018. “I’m behind our troops,” he assured.
He named General Francois Lecointre, a 55-year-old hero of the Balkans wars, as de Villiers’s replacement.