France awaits debt crisis talks to revise growth

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France said on Friday that the upcoming European debt crisis meetings and the G20 summit would take priority over the revision of its 2012 economic growth projection.

"The government is giving priority to the success of the two upcoming international meetings," Budget Minister Valerie Pecresse told AFP, referring to the Sunday and Wednesday meetings of European leaders.

She said the summit meetings were to "clear the economic horizon to better understand the growth rate for 2012.

"We are going through a turbulent period and these two international meetings are likely to bring some solutions to these problems," Pecresse added.

Some French finance ministry officials are urging a quick announcement on the growth forecast before the G20 summit on November 3 and 4 in Cannes, according to the Figaro newspaper.

"The government has one voice," Pecresse said in reaction. She also did not confirm whether the government was working on a new austerity plan but indicated that she would propose one if necessary.

"First, it's the two international meetings and their success, then a clear horizon to make assessments and the commitments undertaken," Pecresse said.

"France will honour its commitments to reduce deficits just like it did last year, clearly adopting Francois Fillon's deficit reduction plans."

Prime Minister Fillon said Monday that new austerity measures would be necessary if France fails to record a minimum growth rate of 1.5 percent in 2012.

Economy Minister Francois Baroin said Tuesday growth was unlikely to reach 1.5 percent, admitting that the projected 1.75 percent rate on which the 2012 budget was based was perhaps too high.

© 2011 AFP

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