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Valls gloats as European Commission accepts France’s budget

media European Commissioner Jyrki Katainen gave the thumbs up to France's and Italy's budget on Tuesday Reuters/Yves Herman

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was crowing on Wednesday morning after the European Commission gave a clean bill of health to his government’s latest budget. Those who were expecting the “humiliation” of France were disappointed, he told French radio.

After weeks of tension between the European Commission and the French government, EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Jyrki Katainen announced on Tuesday that he had found no serious fault in the 2015 budget.

The same applied to Italy, which is also under pressure from the commission and is suffering an economic recession.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin on Monday announced that he had scraped together 3.6 billion euros to reduce the budget deficit, reducing the structural deficit – the underlying shortfall after variables are discounted – by 0.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and reaching the EU’s immediate requirements.

“Everybody expected punishment for France, humiliation,” Valls gloated on RTL radio on Wednesday. “That didn’t happen.”

Paris has declared that it will not be able to reduce the deficit to 3.0 per cent of GDP by its previously stated target date, however.

Valls insisted that was just a question of “adapting” to the “rhythm of our deficits and a new economic factor … very weak growth and very low inflation, not just in France but first of all in Europe”.


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