France's Macron pledges big increase in defense budget

French President Emmanuel Macron will boost defense spending in the coming years to guarantee his country's domestic security and maintain French military engagement abroad, as he repeated his wishes for an increased European military cooperation on Friday.

Addressing soldiers onboard the assault ship Dixmude off the naval base of Toulon, Macron promised to increase spending by 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion) this year to 34.2 billion ($42 billion) euros.

He also pledged to bring defense spending to 2 percent of GDP —from about 1.8 percent currently — by 2025, in a move aimed at "stopping the erosion of our military capacity."

Six months after a crisis over...