June 29, 2013 / 3:10 PM / 5 years ago

France to seek 14 billion euros in cuts next year: paper

PARIS (Reuters) - France will pursue 14 billion euros ($18.2 billion) in spending cuts next year as it attempts to reduce the public deficit to 3 percent of economic output by 2015, Le Monde reported.

France’s Socialist government aims to tame the deficit by trimming ministerial budgets, cutting state aid to companies and reducing local government funding.

With the economy back in a shallow recession, jobless claims at an all-time high and his approval ratings around 30 percent, President Francois Hollande has been reluctant to accelerate the cuts.

Annual growth in overall wage costs for French public employees will be cut to 0.15 percent from 3 percent, chiefly through pay restraint, the French daily said on its website.

Ministries will also be expected to trim 2 percent from operating budgets through public purchasing reform, according to the report, which cited government proposals in a document submitted to a parliamentary committee.

Funding for services such as the CNRS research institute and Meteo France weather forecaster will be cut 4 percent, it said.

French lawmakers are scheduled to hold a preliminary debate on the government’s 2014 budget on July 2.

The Cour des Comptes, which overseas France’s public accounts, warned on June 27 that the deficit could overshoot its 3.7 percent target for 2013.

It recommended spending cuts of 13 billion euros next year and 15 billion in 2015 to meet the 3 percent goal.

($1 = 0.7693 euros)

(Removes extraneous “but” at beginning of third paragraph)

Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by David Cowell

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