French President Francois Hollande on Friday confirmed a plan to trim 24,000 jobs in armed forces by 2019 as part of the government's efforts to tighten public spending crucial to reach healthy finances.
"...The defense ministry staff will be reduced by 24,000 additional men to about 250,000 which is the most important staff in Europe," Hollande said during a visit to the Institute of Advanced Studies of National Defense.
Struggling to put public finances in order via saving billions of euros, Hollande noted the ministry's 2014 budget will be at 31.4 billion euros (40.62 billion U.S. dollars), unchanged from a year ago, with 179.2 billion euros to be devoted to the ministry over 2014-2019 period.
Released last month, the Defense Ministry's "White Paper", recommended by the French head of state, pointed out the need to make savings "essential for the renewal and modernization of our equipment."
Over the five-year mandate, Hollande want to cut spending by 60 billion euros to bring down the budget deficit to 3 percent of the gross domestic product by 2017 from an expected 3.7 percent this year.