France ‘has beaten deficit target’ – finance minister

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.

France 'has beaten deficit target' - finance minister

“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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French unions announce new strike dates in battle against pension reform

After a second day in which more than a million people took to the streets of France to protest over planned pension reform, unions have announced further strike days.

French unions announce new strike dates in battle against pension reform

France’s eight main trades unions federations made a joint announcement on Tuesday night of fresh strike days – Tuesday, February 7th and Saturday, February 11th. 

Tuesday marks the day that the highly controversial pension reform – which includes raising the pension age from 62 to 64 – is presented to the French parliament for the first time.

Both days are likely to see significant disruption, particularly on public transport.

The mass strike on Tuesday saw trains and city public transport services heavily disrupted, while many schools closed as teachers walked out.

Demos held in towns and cities across France saw a huge turnout – more than 1.1 million people, an increase on the turnout on the first day of pension strikes.

READ ALSO ‘We won’t stop until Macron is defeated’ say French pension demonstrators

You can find all the latest news on strikes and service disruptions in our strike section HERE.