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Budget deficit target retained

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stuck to his guns over reducing the deficit to 3% of GDP in a televised debate

PRIME Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has confirmed the objective of reducing the budget deficit to 3% of GDP next year, from 4.5%.

The target is expected to be a challenge for France at a time of weak growth and high unemployment, but Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici has called it “necessary for the credibility of the country”.

Ayrault made the pledge in an interview on the France 2 programme Des Paroles et des Actes, in the run-up to the 2013 budget being presented in parliament today.

He also insisted an objective of 0.8% growth next year is “realistic” and “attainable”.

The prime minister ruled out increases in the CSG social contribution or in VAT next year, saying he was not going to be trying to “plug holes with them”.

Ayrault also referred to the controversial EU treaty, admitting that President Hollande could not be said to have “renegotiated” it in June.

Nonetheless, he said the growth package he negotiated as an add-on “will finally mean that Europe is not just a free-trade zone but that it has a real plan for the future, to give back hope”.

Several leading ministers were in the audience for the interview, supporting Ayrault, who has been suffering in the opinion polls.

To make a line of text smaller: Photo: screenshot from France 2

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