France predicts lower deficit next year _ but still won't meet EU targets

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France says spending cuts and higher tax revenue will help lower its budget deficit next year — though it will remain far above limits the government had long pledged to achieve.

Finance Minister Michel Sapin says that an extra 3.6 billion euros ($4.5 billion) deficit cut next year that France was forced to make will lower its deficit next year to 4.1 percent — down from 4.4 percent in 2014.

Earlier this year Sapin abandoned France's pledge to bring its deficit below 3 percent in 2015, in line with EU rules that France itself had helped establish.

Sapin said at a press conference Wednesday that France's deficit will not meet the 3 percent limit until 2017 — a decade since the last time it was achieved.