Macron rides in a military vehicle on the Champs lyses after his inauguration on 14 May. Photograph: Michel Euler/Pool/EPA
He told the military gathering last week his pledge for future spending increases still stood. I know how to honour the commitments I make to our citizens, he said.
The row has also been viewed as Macron flexing his muscles and exerting presidential power. He told the Journal de Dimanche this weekend that if there was a difference of opinion over army spending, he would not personally give in, adding: It is the chief of the defence staff who will change his position.
Key voices in the French military were scathing about Macrons handling of the row and blamed him for the waste of an esteemed army chief brutally pushed to resign. Writing in Le Monde, General Vincent Desportes lamented what he called Macrons juvenile authoritarianism coupled with a general lack of understanding in the political world as to what the army and military do.
Macron, 39, is the first French president who has neither been in the army nor carried out mandatory military service, which was scrapped in the 1990s. Charles De Gaulle, Georges Pompidou and Valery Giscard dEstaing participated in the second world war, as did Francois Mitterrand. Jacques Chirac fought in the Algerian war. Nicolas Sarkozy and Franois Hollande both did compulsory military service.