Health and welfare deficit to surge by 50 percent

4th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 4, 2007 (AFP) - The deficit in France's national health and welfare system is forecast to hit 12 billion euros (16.3 billion dollars) this year, about 50 percent more than the previous estimate, an oversight body warned Wednesday.

PARIS, July 4, 2007 (AFP) - The deficit in France's national health and welfare system is forecast to hit 12 billion euros (16.3 billion dollars) this year, about 50 percent more than the previous estimate, an oversight body warned Wednesday.

"The general administration deficit will expand again in 2007 to reach 12 billion euros and thus return to its heights of 2004 and 2005," the Social Security accounting commission said in a report.

A draft law presented by former health minister Xavier Bertrand in September had assumed the deficit would amount to roughly eight billion euros.

The general administration budget of the French Social Security system covers health care, workplace accidents, retirement and financial support for families.

On Tuesday, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon confirmed that the new government appointed by President Nicolas Sarkozy had pushed back deadlines for balancing the federal budget and cutting national debt by two years to 2012.

France is now facing pressure from European Union partners to respect strict fiscal rules that underpin the single European currency, and Sarkozy is to attend a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels next week along with Economy Minister Christine Lagarde.

The French president has said repeatedly that it was important to "reduce spending whenever necessary," but also maintains that European leaders and the European Central Bank should do more to "create conditions for growth."

Several measures announced since his election last month are designed to promote home ownership and give French consumers a boost but entail greater government spending.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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