The French Prime Minister announces the country’s second austerity package in less than three months with the aim of protecting France from the widening eurozone crisis and avoiding credit rating downgrade.
“The time has come to adjust France’s efforts. With the president, we have only one goal: to protect the French people from the serious difficulties that many European countries are now facing,” AFP quoted Francois Fillon as saying on Monday.
The measures, a mix of tax increases and spending cuts, were aimed at ensuring President Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration stays on target to reduce France’s budget deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2013, from 5.7 percent this year.
“To reach zero deficits by 2016, which is our objective, we must save a little more than 100 billion euros,” Fillon added.
The austerity package comes as growth prospects have weakened owing to the eurozone debt crisis and France seeks to retain its prized triple-A credit rating.
The fresh cuts will come on top of the EUR 11 billion of savings announced by the government in the first round of austerity measures in August, which resulted in nationwide protests.
Europe plunged into a financial crisis in early 2010. Insolvency now threatens heavily debt-ridden countries such as Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain.
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