PARIS, June 24 (Reuters) - ECB Governing Council member and Bank of France chief Christian Noyer said on Friday that France was far from being in the same situation as Greece but still needed to get its public finances back to balance.
Noyer was speaking a day after France’s national public audit office said the country’s public debt was approaching a danger zone, although its AAA credit rating was safe for now.
“We are not seeing anything like what Greece is seeing for several reasons: firstly, we have started carrying out very important reforms, the most emblematic being the pension reform, and so we have shown that we are capable of reforming and making the necessary efforts to balance public finances,” Noyer told RTL radio.
“Secondly, we have a bank system that is solid.”
Noyer said it was still vital that France bring down its deficit, which the government aims to trim to 5.7 percent of gross domestic product this year from 7.1 percent last year, as it tries to reach a European Union limit of 3 percent by 2013.
“We absolutely have to restore balance in public finances and so it’s vital to follow the path of consolidation exactly as has been planned,” Noyer said.
On Thursday, Didier Migaud, head of France’s independent audit office, told a news conference that France’s deficit remained too high to keep the public debt from growing and in comparison to other European countries.
“We are approaching the danger zone where the debt-to-GDP ratio becomes increasingly closely watched,” he said. (Reporting by Catherine Bremer and Marc Angrand; Editing by Kim Coghill)