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France to miss deficit target amid boost to security

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has announced that his government will likely overshoot the EU budget deficit target as it boosts security spending in the wake of the November 13 terror attacks in Paris.

Manuel Valls told French radio station France Inter on Tuesday that the EU deficit target of 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) would "necessarily be exceeded" as extra spending on anti-terrorism measures would not be compensated by cuts elsewhere.

"We have to accept that and Europe has to understand," he said, adding: "It's also time the [European] Commission understood that this struggle concerns France but also concerns Europe."

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Valls spoke hours before the EU executive Commission was going to pass judgment on draft 2016 budget plans submitted by France and 15 other eurozone members. Greece and Cyprus did not have to submit their budgets for scrutiny because they are under bailouts, while Portugal failed to do so.

Austerity vs. security

France has repeatedly been admonished for failing to meet EU budget goals. The country has been in breach of deficit limits since 2009, and has already been granted three deadline extensions to bring its budget shortfall below 3 percent deficit limit.

In March, EU peers told Paris to trim the deficit to 2.8 per cent of GDP by 2017. But earlier this month, the commission said France was already on track to miss the target, even before extra spending on security came into play.

On Monday, a finance ministry told the news agency Reuters that extra security spending was likely to entail hundreds of millions of euros but less than 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion).

Following Friday's deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, French president Francois Holland promised to hire 5,000 extra policemen, 1,000 extra border guards, boost the ranks of the justice ministry by 2,500 units and scrap planned cuts for the military.

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