BRUSSELS, April 22 France missed its deficit
goal in 2012 while Spain's shortfall rose by more than expected,
EU data showed on Monday, but the bloc's shift away from
austerity may ease the pressure on Paris and Madrid.
France's budget deficit was 4.8 percent of economic output
last year, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said in the final
reading of all 27 countries' public accounts, just above the
French target of 4.5 percent.
Spain's budget shortfall was 10.6 percent of gross domestic
product, higher than the European Commission's forecast of 10.2
It was also a much higher reading than the Spanish
government's 7 percent figure, because Eurostat includes the
impact of bank recapitalisations and support for financial
The European Commission is considering whether to give
France and Spain more time to bring their deficits down towards
the EU limit of 3 percent, to help reinvigorate economic growth
as the euro zone struggles through its second straight year of
The pace of fiscal tightening in rich economies dominated
talks by finance ministers and central bank governors from the
Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies at the weekend, and
officials say they will back off from the spending cuts blamed
for deepening Europe's economic downturn.
Overall, the 17-nation euro zone looked much better off at
the end 2012. Its combined fiscal deficit was 3.7 percent of
gross domestic product, compared to 6.4 percent in 2009.