Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies cast light on dark history

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

A thin line between fact-checking and propaganda in Gaza social media coverage

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • Video: Living in Tel Aviv, under threat of rocket attack

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • US prepared to negotiate Gaza ceasefire, Obama says

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • UN chief Ban Ki-moon appoints new Syria mediator

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

France

France ‘to miss 2013 deficit reduction pledge’

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-02-13

France will likely miss this year's deficit reduction pledge according to Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, with Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici admitting the growth target would be “difficult”. Preliminary 2012 GDP data will be released Thursday.

France will probably miss this year’s public deficit goal, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, the first time a member of the government’s inner circle has admitted doubts over the policy cornerstone are valid.

France is battling to maintain its credibility with its European Union partners, rating agencies and financial markets in the face of serious misgivings over its efforts to reform a stalled economy and cut the budget gap this year to the EU ceiling of 3 percent of economic output.

Asked on Wednesday whether the state audit body was right in suggesting on Tuesday that France would overshoot the target, Fabius replied: “I think it’s likely, and that means we must both avoid squeezing what remains of growth while being responsible and making sure the word ‘savings’ is part of our vocabulary.”

Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, interviewed shortly afterwards on France Info radio, said there was no change in the government’s goal of 0.8 percent economic growth in 2013 and a nominal deficit of 3 percent of GDP.

But he admitted the growth target would be “difficult” and said the Socialist government would examine if it needed to reevaluate its goals in late March, following the publication of the European Commission’s new economic outlook.

“Our goal is for 0.8 percent growth for 2013. Let’s admit it’s going to be difficult,” Moscovici said. “I am perhaps better placed than whoever else to know that, and it’s the same for the deficit. Then there is our timetable (for a review) which has not changed.”

Many economists see growth coming in closer to zero after an expected expansion of just 0.1 percent in 2012. Preliminary 2012 GDP data will be released on Thursday.

Moscovici had already said a review could come around April and many expect France will seek to negotiate an extra year with its EU partners to meet the 3 percent ceiling, despite the risk of a sell-off of French government debt in response.

Growth at standstill

France’s Court of Auditors said on Tuesday it believed the deficit goal would be blown off course as the economy veers close to recession, despite the government’s effort to make an unprecedented 38 billion euros of savings this year.

It urged the EU to make clear how it will judge member states’ deficit-cutting efforts, the most explicit call to date from a French authority for Brussels to clarify how it would react to France overshooting its budget targets.

The European Commission last year granted some leeway to Spain by saying it would focus on its structural fiscal gap, which takes economic cycles into consideration, rather than the nominal deficit. New EU treaty rules also put greater emphasis on efforts to narrow underlying budget shortfalls.

Fabius’s remark appeared to be the latest in a series of mixed messages sent by the nine-month-old government, which has had to repeatedly rein in its industry minister for provocative comments that clash with its official line.

Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac backed Moscovici in saying that any modification to budget targets would come in the stability programme the government will present to parliament in mid-March before submitting it to the European Commission.

“Everybody knows it is difficult to reach nominal deficit targets when the economic cycle is as bad as this,” he told France Inter radio. “Nevertheless, this is where we are at. We’ll see (when we submit the stability plan) whether it is necessary to revise certain parameters.”

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-02-13

  • FRANCE

    Moody's downgrades France despite reform plans

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French fury at Economist’s ‘time-bomb’ warning

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Hollande pleads for patience as French economy stalls

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)