Photographer: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg

France Cut Deficit Faster Than Planned in 2015, Sapin Says

France’s state deficit shrank more than expected in 2015 as a recovering economy generated tax receipts and the government held down spending, the government said Thursday.

The state’s budget shortfall amounted to 70.5 billion euros ($76.96 billion) instead of the 74.4 billion originally budgeted, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said at a press conference. In 2014, the state deficit amounted to 85 billion euros.

The performance, which excluded deficits incurred by the social security system and local governments, suggests France is on track to meet its commitment to European partners of reducing its overall budget shortfall to the equivalent of 3.8 percent of gross domestic product in 2015.

“This is the first time in a very long time that France is keeping its promises” on the budget, Sapin said. “Seventy billion is the same figure we had in 2008 and in that sense, France is out of the crisis.”

Tax revenues were 1.2 billion euros higher than originally forecast, while total state spending fell by 1.8 billion euros.

Sapin repeated that he expects the total deficit to fall to the equivalent of less than 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2017.

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