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France's 2013 public debt worse than expected

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12:48 CET+01:00
France's public deficit is set to be worse than expected in 2013 and 2014, veering up to 3.7 percent of output this year and 3.9 percent next year, the European Commission said on Friday.

The figure for this year, when France was due to get back within the EU's ceiling of 3.0 percent of output, is worse than the 3.5 percent previously tipped, and leaves Socialist President Francois Hollande looking for special leeway from Brussels.

European Union Economy and Euro Commissioner Olli Rehn told a press conference that France could be given more time to meet its commitments, much as Spain and others have been over the three years of the debt crisis.

"If the expected negative economic headwinds bring significant, unfavourable consequences for public finances, the (EU's) Stability and Growth Pact allows for the deadline (for France) to be pushed back to 2014," he said.

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