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France increases defense spending by $4 billion, saves 18,500 jobs

By Andrew V. Pestano
France increases defense spending by $4 billion, saves 18,500 jobs
Francois Hollande has been the president of France since 2012. File Photo by Pierre Chabaud/Interior Ministry/UPI | License Photo

PARIS, April 29 (UPI) -- French President Francois Hollande announced that defense spending will increase by about $4 billion to combat terrorism threats.

He said the 2015 defense budget will remain at $35 billion and will increase by an additional $4.1 billion between 2016 and 2019 -- reportedly preventing 18,500 of the expected 34,000 job cuts planned for the French military.

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"France is facing threats at home and overseas," Hollande said to reporters. "Security, protection, independence are principles that are not negotiable."

The deployed 7,000 soldiers protecting sensitive locations throughout France will be permanently established, according to Hollande. The additional funding will also help French forces fighting abroad, such as in Iraq.

"I've taken these decisions because it is a question of protecting and securing France," Hollande said. "If French people are to have confidence in the future, they must feel safe everywhere."

French authorities have strongly mobilized efforts against threats to national security since the January attacks in Paris, where 17 people were killed when gunmen attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket.

Police in France recently arrested a suspect in possession of an "arsenal" of weapons, preventing a terrorist attack targeting at least one church.

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