FRANCE

Budget deficit to be bigger than expected

Estimates of the public deficit were revised upwards to 3.2% of GDP in 2008 and 4.4% in 2009, announced French Budget Minister Eric Woerth (pictured) on Tuesday, due to the impact of the financial crisis.

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AFP - France said Tuesday it had revised upwards its expected public deficits for 2008 and 2009 due to the impact of the world economic crisis.

The deficit would be 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008 and 4.4 percent for 2009, Budget Minister Eric Woerth said, revising upward earlier estimates of 2.9 and 3.9 percent.

European Union member states are supposed to keep their public deficits to less than 3.0 percent of output under the rules of their Stability and Growth Pact but France has called for this limit to be eased as governments grapple with the worst economic downturn in decades.

Woerth forecast on Tuesday that France would get the deficit back down to 3.1 percent in 2010, 2.3 percent in 2011 and 1.5 percent in 2012.

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