Moscovici Hasn’t Asked EU to Slow Pace of French Deficit Cutting

Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici denied he has sought more time to comply with European Union budget rules even as the European Commission said France is behind in reducing its budget shortfall and reviving competitiveness.

The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, predicted today that France will have a deficit equal to 4 percent of gross domestic product this year and 3.9 percent next year, instead of the 3.6 percent and 3.0 percent targets President Francois Hollande promised he will deliver under new euro area rules.

“I haven’t evoked anything that looks like a delay” with European Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, Moscovici said at a press conference in Paris. The French government will be “extremely strict” on cutting spending and intends for the national debt burden to begin falling next year, he added.

Moscovici also noted that inflation that is below the European Central Bank’s 2 percent target makes it more difficult for France to adjust its economy and that the euro area as a whole has a problem of lack of demand.

“Inflation is low, very low -- some would say too low,” Moscovici said.

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