Europe

French military chief: New threats require more spending

  • FILE - In this Saturday, March 19, 2016 file picture, French Army Chief of Staff, General Pierre de Villiers, arrives at the Elysee Palace to attend an emergency security meeting in Paris, France. France's military chief is urging the next president to ratchet up defense spending to better confront Islamic extremists and authoritarian states that increasingly rely on military muscle. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, File)

    FILE - In this Saturday, March 19, 2016 file picture, French Army Chief of Staff, General Pierre de Villiers, arrives at the Elysee Palace to attend an emergency security meeting in Paris, France. France's military chief is urging the next president to ratchet up defense spending to better confront Islamic extremists and authoritarian states that increasingly rely on military muscle. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Thursday July 14, 2016 file picture, French President Francois Hollande, left, and Chief of Staff French army Gen. Pierre de Villiers arrive in a command car for the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France. France's military chief is urging the next president to ratchet up defense spending to better confront Islamic extremists and authoritarian states that increasingly rely on military muscle. (Stephane de Sakutin, Pool via AP, File)

    FILE - In this Thursday July 14, 2016 file picture, French President Francois Hollande, left, and Chief of Staff French army Gen. Pierre de Villiers arrive in a command car for the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France. France's military chief is urging the next president to ratchet up defense spending to better confront Islamic extremists and authoritarian states that increasingly rely on military muscle. (Stephane de Sakutin, Pool via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

France's military chief is urging the next president to ratchet up defense spending to better confront Islamic extremists and authoritarian states that increasingly rely on military muscle.

Gen. Pierre de Villiers, chief of the general staff, said in an appeal published Wednesday in business daily Les Echos that attacks on France and other European countries in recent years showed that "peace no longer happens by itself."

He called for upgrading nuclear arsenals and other equipment, and boosting defense spending over the next five years to 2 percent of gross domestic product, compared to 1.77 percent currently. France had promised such an increase to NATO by 2025, but de Villiers urged a faster effort.

France's military, among Europe's biggest, is active in anti-extremist operations in Syria and Iraq and other missions.