February 22, 2019
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Macron confirms France is to again have compulsory military service

Paris, Jan 19 (efe-epa).- The President of France on Friday confirmed that the country would once again have a compulsory military service as he had announced during his campaign, in which he said it would last one month.

Emmanuel Macron said in a speech at the southeast Toulon naval base that the so-called "universal national service" would have its own budget and be organized by several different ministries.

He thus removed any doubts that had emerged surrounding this idea, which he had included in his presidential campaign but that had faded into the background since he had entered the Elysee.

He did not give any precise details on the project, but has previously said that the service should last a month.

According to the president, its financing would not affect the defense budget, which currently stands at 34.2 billion euros ($42 billion).

Insisting that French defense had to be reinforced, Macron said he intended to raise the budget by 1.7 billion euros every year until 2022 and by 3 billion annually from then, so that by 2025 it would amount to 2 percent of France's GDP.

He assured that the armed forces would be modernized, particularly the nuclear defense system and military information services, and that there would be greater cooperation with other European union member states.

Macron insisted that cooperation with Germany was indispensable and, despite Brexit, it was essential they continued to work with the United Kingdom.

The New Year presidential speech to the armed forces was highly anticipated after former chief of staff Pierre de Villiers resigned last July, fearing that the military budget would be reduced under Macron.

Villiers then went on to write a highly critical book about Macron that has become a huge success and one of the main flanks that threaten to weaken the president's popularity.

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