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France 'has beaten deficit target' - finance minister

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France 'has beaten deficit target' - finance minister
12:19 CET+01:00

French Finance Minister Francois Baroin confirmed on Tuesday that France had beat its public deficit target for last year, which will come in at 5.3 percent of GDP instead of 5.7 percent.

"We'll be at 5.3 percent" of gross domestic product, said Baroin.

The official public deficit figure will be published at the end of March by INSEE.

French officials have indicated that the result would be "substantially" better than the initial target of 5.7 percent.

At the end of January, President Nicolas Sarkozy said the public deficit, which includes the balance of spending of the central government, regions and state health and pensions systems, would come in at 5.4 percent or "maybe 5.3 percent" of GDP.

EU nations are supposed to keep their public deficits at under 3.0 percent of GDP.

France plans to cut the deficit to 4.5 percent this year and reach the 3.0 percent EU ceiling in 2013.

"Restoring (investor) confidence is a slow process, and I'm absolutely convinced we're in the process of doing it," said Baroin.

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