Tuesday 23 January 2018

France welcomes IMF budget deficit warning

Mark Deen

FRENCH Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici has welcomed a report by the IMF that warned against cutting budget deficits too quickly, adding that the fiscal debate won't change France's plan to cut its own shortfall or shake up its labour market.

"I find it good that the debate is being opened by an institution as authoritative as the IMF.

"That said, it doesn't change anything about France's commitments, which are independent. We've decided to reduce debt," he said, adding the deficit would be 3pc of gross domestic product next year.

Mr Moscovici and President Francois Hollande are defending their 2013 budget as the European Commission prepares to set out its own view of national budgets next month.

Economists have said the French plan relies on an over-optimistic growth assumption of 0.8pc next year.

The remarks are the latest contribution to a debate among policy-makers in Tokyo about whether Europe is deepening its debt problem by trying to slash deficits too quickly.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said that some countries should be given more time to reduce budget shortfalls, an approach rejected by Germany.

Mr Moscovici's comments also reflect France's middling budget performance, with a smaller deficit than the UK and the US, though a larger one than Germany and Italy. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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