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Ayrault seeks support to tackle 'crushing' French debt
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault urged the French to rally behind the government to tackle a “crushing” debt crisis in his first speech to Parliament Tuesday, adding that the aim of belt-tightening measures was to balance the budget by 2017.
AFP - Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault Tuesday urged the French people to rally behind the government to tackle a “crushing” and “unprecedented” debt crisis.
“The debt burden has become crushing. The state pays nearly 50 billion euros to its creditors annually,” he told parliament while outlining the new government’s legislative agenda.
“I have come here today to appeal to you and through you all French people for a mobilisation because it is not too late to react and succeed,” he said.
Ayrault said the aim of the belt-tightening at a time of lower-than-expected domestic growth and the eurozone debt crisis was to have a balanced budget in 2017.
The state audit office warned Monday that the budget must be adjusted by up to 10 billion euros this year and by 33 billion euros ($41.7 billion) next year.
Ayrault’s speech is being closely monitored by voters, businesses and the right-wing opposition in France but also by financial markets worldwide as France along with Germany is a key player in resolving the eurozone debt crisis.
The Socialist government under President Francois Hollande, whose poll mantra had been growth over belt-tightening, may be forced to review pledges to voters to create jobs, spur growth and reduce the public deficit.