Sarkozy freeze on French public spending

20th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 20 (AFP) - French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has decided to put an additional EUR 3 billion in credits aside in 2004 on top of an already-planned EUR 4 billion freeze to curb state spending, the ministry said Tuesday.

PARIS, April 20 (AFP) - French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has decided to put an additional EUR 3 billion in credits aside in 2004 on top of an already-planned EUR 4 billion freeze to curb state spending, the ministry said Tuesday.

In a letter to ministers of which AFP has obtained a copy, Sarkozy urged his counterparts "not to spend a euro more than was voted" by the parliament in France's 2004 budget.

But spending aimed at preparing for the future, and for research in particular, was exempted from measures aimed at reducing the country's excessive public deficit.

The only figures mentioned in the letter represent a spending ceiling set by lawmakers late last year of EUR 283.7 billion (USD 338 billion).

The ministry confirmed however that EUR 4 billion in spending items would be frozen as decided by the government in late 2003.

"Four billion in credits have effectively been put in reserve, that is frozen, and cannot be spent," a spokesperson said.

"The other EUR 3 billion concern delayed credits, which if they are not spent now, may be released this year depending on needs and how the situation develops", the spokesperson added.

According to the French daily Le Monde, Sarkozy will write to each minister asking them to cut spending.

Under the plan, the defence ministry will be asked to cut spending by EUR 800 million, it said.

France has exceeded European Union deficit limits for the past two years, as it struggled to recover from a steep economic downturn.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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