Discover the World News Forecast . . . FIRST in Foresight Journalism

PARIS 14 Jul 2012 Bastille Day parade a reminder of French military costs
When François Hollande takes the salute as France’s new president at the annual Bastille Day parade down the Champs Elysee, hi

July 14, 2012 - NULL

PARIS 14 Jul 2012 Bastille Day parade a reminder of French military costs
When François Hollande takes the salute as France's new president at the annual Bastille Day parade down the Champs Elysee, his platform will be more secure than the country's finances. The always stirring spectacle of France's military might on parade raises the question of where military spending fits in the pro-growth election promise that helped the center-left Socialist to a sweeping victory over Nicholas Sarkozy of the center-right UMP. The NATO summit in May could reveal the answer.

Hollande will attend the NATO summit

PARIS 14 Jul 2012 Bastille Day parade a reminder of French military costs
When François Hollande takes the salute as France's new president at the annual Bastille Day parade down the Champs Elysee, his platform will be more secure than the country's finances. The always stirring spectacle of France's military might on parade raises the question of where military spending fits in the pro-growth election promise that helped the center-left Socialist to a sweeping victory over Nicholas Sarkozy of the center-right UMP. The NATO summit in May could reveal the answer.

Hollande will attend the NATO summit in the United States, and is expected to reveal whether he plans to keep French troops in Afghanistan and how France will exercise its military muscle around the world. European NATO members, all with pressure on their military budgets in the climate of austerity, plan to announce an initiative dubbed "smart defense" at the summit. General Stephane Abrial, interviewed by AFP in April, said the plan involves sharing the cost of military hardware and promoting a new mindset on weapons buying.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute noted in an April AFP report that Western Europe's three top spenders -- France, Germany and Britain -- "have begun to reduce spending as part of austerity measures imposed to reduce budget deficits." It added that France's military budget has fallen 4 per cent since 2008.

Bastille Day commemorates the 1789 storming of the notorious Bastille Prison, the start of the French Revolution, and Place de la Bastille was full to bursting point with supporters celebrating his victory on 22 Apr. Britain's financial Times noted that not since 1998, when France won the football World Cup, has the capital seen such mass celebration - and raucous inebriation.

The Bastille Day parade passes down the Champs-Elysées from l'Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde where the French president, his government, guests and foreign ambassadors stand. With few exceptions, it has taken place every year since 1880. The spectacle includes French air force jets releasing trails of red, white and blue smoke to represent the colors of France, and parachutists floating down on to the Place des Invalides. Many cities hold fireworks during the evening of Bastille Day. (Written May 2012)

RELATED READING:

2011 world military spending levels out (AFP 11 Apr 2012)
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h5MPodJcqpcGauYoQeZI-ThY-IRw?docId=CNG.76b30330e3c50ee4908cd38a262550bb.801

Can the Euro Avert Collapse? (The Nation 28 May 2012)
http://www.thenation.com/article/167816/can-euro-avert-collapse

As France's new president, does François Hollande have the leadership style to match his agenda? (Washington Post 7 May 2012)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-leadership/post/as-frances-new-president-does-francois-hollande-have-the-leadership-style-to-match-his-agenda/2011/04/01/gIQAwh2N8T_blog.html?tid=pm_national_pop

Date written/update: 2012-07-14