HONG KONG (Reuters) - France will stick with its recently revised public deficit targets, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici told Reuters on Friday despite many economists’ warnings they remain too optimistic.
Moscovici, who is seeking a one-year delay for Paris to cut the deficit below a European Union limit of 3 percent of GDP, also voiced confidence that the European Commission would give its blessing to the new targets.
Last week, the government raised the nominal deficit target for 2013 to 3.7 percent of output from a previous 3 percent because growth is proving weaker than expected, and also revised targets for the next four years.
Asked by Reuters Insider television whether the targets would need to be revised again in the future, Moscovici said: “No, we are not going to do that, and we don’t need to do that.”
He insisted that France had set the appropriate pace of fiscal tightening, saying that he was certain that plans to cut the structural deficit, which excludes swings in the business cycle, from 2 percent of economic output this year to 1 percent in 2014 would be honored.
“This is something that we need to do because we don’t want to add austerity to recession,” he said in an interview during a trip to China and Hong Kong, adding that he was confident this would be allowed by the European Commission.
Reporting by Tara Joseph; writing by Leigh Thomas; editing by Ron Askew