France’s defense minister reportedly plans to start creating a $4 billion frigate, or naval, program ahead of the country’s upcoming presidential election in May, according to Defense News.

Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, along with an agency investment committee, was scheduled to approve the program Friday, but sources told Defense News the meeting was postponed. However, the measure is still expected to gain approval when the committee meets and then asks the Economy and Finance ministries for funding.

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French contractors DCNS, which focuses on naval equipment and ships, and Thales Group, a builder of electrical systems for defense and aerospace industries, will be tasked with delivering five 4,200-ton ships, the first scheduled for 2023.

As France last year aimed to up its defense spending, the move was viewed as a way to promote DCNS’ warships and overall exports of French-made arms, the report said. Furthermore, it could help DCNS further its footing in Colombia, where it announced the opening of an office in Bogota. Colombia has shown interest in purchasing four ships.

Last year, France, under outgoing President Francois Hollande, announced plans to increase its military spending by $667 million amid cries from the United States for fellow NATO members to further increase military spending to the agreed-upon 2 percent of gross domestic product.

Those cries were further echoed by both U.S. President Donald Trump during his first six weeks in office and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis when he visited NATO headquarters in Brussels last month. The increased spending also comes as France and other European powers fret over Russia’s increased military activity along its western border and issued calls for a new world order.

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It appeared Monday that most NATO members attempted to meet the military expenditure goal. Reuters reported defense spending by European members increased in 2016 for the first time in seven years though France was still a little short at 1.79 percent of its GDP.

"There has been progress but the job is far from done, we still have no fair burden-sharing within our alliance," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. "It is realistic that all allies reach the goal of 2 percent."