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France May Need ’Additional Efforts’ on Deficit, EU Says

France may need to take additional measures to tackle its budget deficit, European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said.

“Important steps have been taken which include consolidation measures aimed at bringing the deficit to 3 percent of GDP, measures on competitiveness to lower in particular the fiscal burden on companies and the on-going negotiation to reform the labor code,” Rehn said in a written response to a question from the European Parliament. “In many cases, these reforms are still at a very early stage and additional efforts might still be needed.”

The French government “needs to undertake wide-ranging structural reforms to ensure a sustainable return to growth and to continue fiscal consolidation efforts to bring the excessive deficit procedure to an end,” Rehn said in the response, which is dated Jan. 16.

“The increasing unemployment also calls for specific attention,” Rehn said. “Finally, the deterioration of export competitiveness has resulted in serious external imbalances.”

At the same time, Rehn noted that “the yield on French bonds has decreased over the last year, reflecting the high confidence of investors.”

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