Germany's EU commissioner warns France to fix budget
Germany's EU commissioner warned on Sunday that France had only won a reprieve against sanctions over its bloated budget and that failure to implement reforms could still trigger penalties.
The EU Commission on Friday gave France, as well as Italy and Belgium, an additional three months until March to fix their budgets, under new powers granted during the debt crisis.
But the three EU member states still face humiliating sanctions if they fail to curb spending, it warned.
"Sanctions are only deferred, not lifted," Spiegel news weekly quoted Guenther Oettinger, Germany's EU commissioner and an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, as saying.
"We need resilient reforms of the job market," he added.
If Paris does not set out a reform plan by the beginning of March, the EU Commission must react, Oettinger told Spiegel, in its edition dated Monday.
"It's also a question of credibility," he added.
Earlier this month Oettinger wrote an article in French daily Les Echos and the Financial Times in which he criticised France for breaking the rules and failing to bring in reforms.
Paris is set for a deficit of 4.3 percent of GDP in 2015, way above the EU's 3.0 percent ceiling.
© 2014 AFP