France unveils budget, ignores agreed EU deadlines | News | DW | 01.10.2014
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France unveils budget, ignores agreed EU deadlines

The French government has unveiled its plans for its 2015 budget. It would see French borrowing scaled back to within EU limits two years later than originally promised.

During a press conference on Wednesday, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin laid out his government's 2015 budget, which sees public deficit falling at a slower rate than France had previously outlined.

"We have taken the decision to adapt the pace of deficit reduction to the economic situation of the country," Sapin said.

France had previously promised to rein in its spending so that its public deficit would be less than 3 percent of economic output – in line with European Union rules – by 2015. That was already a compromise on a previously agreed deadline of 2013.

Now, France's plan would first see it in compliance with EU regulations by 2017.

"Our economic policy is not changing, but the deficit will be reduced more slowly than planned due to economic circumstances - very weak growth and very weak inflation," said Sapin.

Part of France's budget plans moving forward include cutting 50 billion euros in public spending in an effort to offset 50 billion euros ($63 billion) in tax breaks for businesses, which are being implemented in an effort to create jobs.

On Tuesday, France's statistics office announced that the country's public debt had topped 2 trillion euros for the first time ever. This represents 95 percent of the country's gross domestic product. EU rules stipulate a member nation's public debt should not exceed 60 percent of GDP. France said this ratio would likely peak at 98 percent in 2016.

France's Pierre Moscovici, a former finance minister under President Francois Hollande, has been nominated to the EU post of Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner. He is set to undergo a confirmation hearing for the EU post on Thursday, where European parliamentarians will likely explore his qualifications as head of economic and financial affairs in the commission when his own country struggles to comply with EU rules.

mz/kms (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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