The French government says it is tightening rules for awarding the Legion of Honor, France's highest distinction.

Government spokesman Christophe Castaner said the number of awardees next year will decrease by 50 percent for civilians, 10 percent for soldiers and 25 percent for foreigners.

Currently some 3,200 civilians and 1,300 military staff receive the award every year.

Castaner said the selection criteria should be stricter, adding: "You don't get it by doing friends favors."

He also noted the Legion of Honor tends to be attributed mostly to white men over 60 and called for more diversity.

The Legion of Honor, created by Napoleon in 1802, aims at honoring famous as well as unknown people, French and foreigners, who have served France and defended its values.