EU's Barroso - France must stick to plans to hit budget target

BRUSSELS, June 2 Mon Jun 2, 2014 10:14am EDT

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BRUSSELS, June 2 (Reuters) - France needs to stick to its planned reforms in order to bring down its budget deficit to below 3 percent of economic output in 2015, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Monday.

"The French authorities, before the European elections, announced an important package of structural measures," Barroso told a news conference.

"We think that it is still possible, in particular as regards the structural objectives, for France to meet its commitments if indeed the measures are actually applied," he said.

"It's true that on the basis of a constant policy without any change, these objectives could be at risk," he said. "But the French authorities ... still have time to introduce the necessary changes."

At the start of May, the Commission warned that France would miss its 2015 target unless it makes rapid policy adjustments.

France was meant to have cut its deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2013 but the EU extended the deadline by two years.

Paris then delivered a 4.3 percent deficit in 2013 instead of 4.1 percent and is set to miss this year's target too. At the same time, other euro zone countries in far more difficult economic circumstances have managed to meet their obligations. (Reporting by Jan Strupczewski and John O'Donnell)

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