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French budget sets out deficit cuts but "no austerity"

[PARIS] The French government unveiled its 2015 budget on Wednesday, setting out how it would bring its public deficit to within EU limits two years later than planned in what it said was a plan that fitted the weak economic environment.

Under the budget presented by Finance Minister Michel Sapin, the public deficit is set to fall from 4.4 per cent of GDP this year to 4.3 per cent next year, 3.8 per cent in 2016 and 2.8 per cent in 2017 - below the EU-mandated threshold of 3 per cent.

Previously, France had promised EU partners it would bring its deficit below 3 per cent by next year. "The rhythm of deficit reduction is appropriate to the situation. No further effort will be demanded of the French, because the government - while taking the fiscal responsibility needed to put the country on the right track - refuses austerity," the budget statement said. - Reuters