Published: 19 Feb 2013 10:01 GMT+01:00 | Print version
Updated: 19 Feb 2013 10:01 GMT+01:00
The French government became involved in an embarrassing internal row on Tuesday after the Finance Ministry was forced to deny an earlier statement Foreign Minister that they will reduce its forecast for growth of the economy this year from 0.8 percent.
When asked by a journalist on RTL radio if the figure would be 0.2-0.3 percent, Fabius replied that "it's around this figure", having previously recalled that the forecast had first been 1.2 percent, and then 0.8 percent.
Fabius did not specify whether he meant that the previous forecast of 0.8-percent growth would be cut to 0.2-0.3 percent, or by 0.2-0.3 percentage points which would put the new forecast at 0.5-0.6 percent.
He said: "There was a growth forecast which was to begin with 1.2 percent. Then it was revised to 0.8 percent and now, as across Europe, things don't seem to be going at all well. We will be obliged to revise downwards.
He said: "This must be done in the next few days."
Fabius's comments caught the government's Finance Ministry in Bercy off guard and statements denying the forecasts were to be revise were quickly dispatched.
"As the Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, has repeated several times, the growth forecast for 2013 in France is not yet set because there is a procedure to comply with European partners," read a statement released from Bercy.
French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll, when asked about Fabius's remarks on Europe 1 radio, was cautious.
"I confirm that, as the prime minister has said, we will be obliged to revise our targets for a simple reason. That is that in 2012 we anticipated weak growth of 0.5 percent, it was zero," he said.
"Therefore, we do not have this base of growth for a forecast as high as we had anticipated."
Someone else who thinks Fabius might have got it wrong is head of business union Medef, Laurence Parisot, who believes the minister's figure of 0.2 percent growth far too optimistic.
"Based on what we see on the micro-economic level, that all of us experience everyday business, we are not sure of 0.2% growth. We are at best at zero percent and in many sectors we are less than that, " she said.
A proposal to introduce more courses in English and other foreign languages at French universities is set to be debated in parliament from Wednesday amid concerns it will undermine the country's soul and identity. READ () »
A 48-year-old divorced Briton locked in a bitter custody battle confessed on Sunday that he had killed his two young children by slitting their throats near the eastern French city of Lyon. READ () »
As Carlo Ancelotti paid fulsome tribute to the retiring David Beckham the Paris Saint Germain manager revealed an announcement on his own future may be imminent. READ () »
France's disgraced former budget minister, forced out of office over a tax fraud scandal, will not seek re-election to his former parliamentary seat, a newspaper reported Sunday. READ () »
Spain's world championship leader Marc Marquez will start on pole in Sunday's French MotoGP on the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans after coming out on top in Saturday's qualifying. READ () »
A man was arrested on Friday after causing a scare at the Cannes Film Festival, where he attacked a TV studio with a gun loaded with blanks and a dummy grenade, police and witnesses said. READ () »
French actor and newly-minted Russian citizen Gerard Depardieu on Saturday compared President Vladimir Putin to the late Pope John Paul II and said the ex-KGB agent is what Russia needs as a leader. READ () »
France became the 14th country to legalise same-sex marriage Saturday after President Francois Hollande signed the measure into law following months of bitter political debate. READ () »
Struggling French oyster farmers, whose haul has diminished in recent years, are set to receive some much needed help from their Swedish counterparts, by importing oyster spats from Sweden for the first time. READ () »
France's highest court the Constitutional Council cleared the divisive gay marriage bill on Friday, paving the way for same sex unions to become legal. Francois Hollande said he would sign the bill into law as soon as Saturday. READ () »