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France to miss public deficit target: EU

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France to miss public deficit target: EU
French President Francois Hollande faces pressure from Brussels to meet the EU's 3.0-percent-of-GDP ceiling. Photo: Images of Money
12:09 CET+01:00
France will miss an agreed target to cut its public deficit, the EU said on Tuesday, with the latest economic forecasts saying that the French government deficit will hit 4.1 percent this year, 3.8 percent next year and still post a 2015 shortfall at 3.7 percent.

With French output struggling to keep in line with the eurozone's core German economy, French President Francois Hollande faces pressure from Brussels to meet the EU's 3.0-percent-of-GDP ceiling.

But the latest economic forecasts from the European Commission say that the French government deficit will hit 4.1 percent this year, 3.8 percent next year and still post a 2015 shortfall at 3.7 percent.

The risk otherwise is that Paris could face new EU fines or an unprecedented intervention to France's national budget.

Meanwhile, Spain's battered economy is showing few signs of catching up recovery in the northern eurozone.

The European Commission forecasts left Spanish public finances looking perilously wide of the mark as it strives to emerge from a burst property-and-banking bubble, nine quarters in a row of recession and soaring unemployment.

Madrid has been given until 2016 to reach the 3.0-percent mark, after a eurozone bailout for its banks, but Spain's public deficit will still hit 5.9 percent next year and rise again to 6.6 percent in 2015.

The Commission said weak tax revenues will leave the public finances vulnerable in the absence of a major pick-up to put the economy back on track.

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