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FRANCE

France shouldn’t get easy ride: Bundesbank

The head of the German central bank on Thursday described the decision by the EU Commission to grant France a two-year delay to reach its budget targets as problematic.

France shouldn't get easy ride: Bundesbank
French President Francois Hollande. Photo: DPA

"The latest development in France's deficit procedure is very problematic," Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann said on presentation of the central bank's annual accounts.

France has just been awarded extra time to bring its deficit below the 3.0-percent ceiling laid down in EU rules.

"I had hoped that a country like France would seek to set an example" in budgetary discipline, Weidmann said.

"But the deficit ceiling was only respected (there) in a small number of years," he complained.

Overall, "respect of the rules is weaker than it was before the crisis," he said.
Earlier this week, ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure had expressed concern that the EU's strict budget rules are being undermined and major economies treated more leniently than smaller ones.

"We would not create trust in the eurozone if we create the perception that what has already been decided is being unravelled," said Coeure, a Frenchman.

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Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France’s finance stamps

If you're doing a French admin task, you might be asked to provide a 'timbre fiscale' - here's what these are and how to get them.

Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France's finance stamps

In France, you can buy  a very particular kind of stamp to cover the cost of a titre de séjour, or French passport, to pay your taxes, get an ID card if you’re eligible, or pay for your driving licence.

Basically a timbre fiscale is a way of paying a fee to the government, and some online processes – such as the tax offices – now have the more modern method of a bank transfer or card payment.

However there are plenty of official tasks that still demand a timbre fiscale.

In the pre-internet days, this was a way of sending money safely and securely to the government and involved an actual physical stamp – you bought stamps to the value of the money you owned, stuck them onto a card and posted them to government office.

They could be used for anything from paying your taxes to fees for administrative processes like getting a new passport or residency card.

These days the stamps are digital. You will receive, instead, either a pdf document with a QR code that can be scanned from a phone or tablet, or an SMS with a unique 16-digit figure. Both will be accepted by the agency you are dealing with.

Once you have the code you need, you can add this to any online process that requires timbre fiscaux (the plural) and that will complete your dossier.

You can buy them from a properly equipped tabac, at your nearest trésorerie, or online

Paper stamps remain available in France’s overseas départements, but have been gradually phased out in mainland France.

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