France vows to cut deficit within EU rules by 2027

AFP , Friday 21 Jun 2024

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Friday insisted France would slash the public deficit to below three percent of GDP by 2027, after the EU reprimanded Paris for breaking budget rules.

File photo: A view of La D fense business district outside Paris. AFP


"We have to come back to sound public finances and count on my total determination," Le Maire told reporters in Luxembourg.

"We will stick to the same path with the view to get the three percent, to be under the three percent by 2027."

France has been thrown into political uncertainty after President Emmanuel Macron called a snap vote following his party's crushing defeat against the far-right this month.

Political parties on both sides of the spectrum have made abundant spending promises, which Le Maire blamed for the market volatility in France in recent days.

"You have the programmes put on the table by other parties and by the opposition with very significant public expenditures," Le Maire said.

"This explains the reaction of the markets, the worries expressed by the banking sector," he said.

"This is the direct consequence of economic and financial programmes that are totally foolish and irresponsible."

The European Commission on Wednesday said it would propose in July to launch "a deficit-based excessive deficit procedure" for Belgium, France, Italy, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia. All seven countries have deficits higher than three percent.

France's deficit was 5.5 percent last year.

There are two sacred objectives under the bloc's rules: a state's debt must not go higher than 60 percent of national output, with a deficit of no more than three percent.

Le Maire defended France's policies, and pointed to "necessary decisions" taken in the last six months to cut public spending.

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