French minister warns of tough 2009 budget

16th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

France faces a tough budget for 2009 given very sharp constraints on spending and its freedom of action, says budget and public works minister.

16 July 2008

PARIS - France faces a tough budget for 2009 given very sharp constraints on spending and its freedom of action, the budget and public works minister warned Tuesday.

Eric Woerth told parliament that the government wanted to rein in the public deficit to 2.2 percent of total economic output, as part of efforts to balance the books by 2012, as promised to the European Union.

That is a drop of 0.5 percentage points from 2.7 percent in 2007.

Woerth said some 30,600 civil servant positions would be cut in 2009, up from 22,900 in the 2008 budget, 13,500 of which would go in education.

"The financial constraints are extremely strong," he said, as he unveiled guidelines for 2009-2011. And inflation was making matters worse, he added.

Education spending would increase seven percent to EUR 63.24 billion by 2011, with research and development rising more than 10 percent to EUR 25.89 billion over the same period, he added.

Defence spending was slated to rise 4.5 percent to EUR 38.55 billion.

[AFP / Expatica]

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