Hollande’s budget targets in doubt after fresh deficit rise

Ben Southwood
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ANALYSTS yesterday said that France’s 2013 deficit target was impossible to achieve, after the gap widened in the first two months of the year.

The gap between receipts and spending was 8.6 per cent wider – at €27bn (£23bn) – in the first two months of this year than in the same period last year, numbers from the budget management office, Agence Tresors, showed.

“Today’s data comes as a reminder that measures previously taken may not be enough to bring the deficit closer to the three per cent of GDP limit,” said ING’s Julien Manceaux.

“This initial target is definitely out of reach for 2013 but if the deficits continue to increase, even 2015 will appear too soon to comply with European rules.”

President Francois Hollande was elected on an anti-austerity platform but has increasingly come under pressure from Europe to cut spending and up taxes to close the budget gap.