France’s public debt jumps to 91 pct of GDP

France’s public debt jumps to 91 pct of GDP

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
France’s public debt jumps to 91 pct of GDP

French Economy, Finance and Foreign Trade Minister Pierre Moscovici. AFP photo

France’s public debt jumped in the second quarter of the year, official data showed on Sept. 28 as the finance minister pledged to bring its public deficit back to within EU limits by next year.
The debt, which includes national, local and welfare budgets, reached 91 percent of gross domestic product, according to the national statistics office INSEE.
French debt has climbed by 43.2 billion euros ($55.8 billion) since the end of March, when it represented 89.3 percent of GDP, to a total of 1.833 billion euros at the end of June.
Under European Union rules, member states are supposed to limit their debt to 60 percent of output or be reducing the ratio structurally towards this ceiling, and run public deficits of no more than 3.0 percent of GDP.

Several European Union and eurozone countries face a huge task in controlling their public finances, notably in Greece, Spain and Portugal where extra austerity measures are biting hard, but also in Italy and Ireland, and in non-eurozone Britain. Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici pledged on Friday to get the French deficit back to that level by next year as he prepared to present the 2013 budget to a cabinet meeting.

“The three percent level is necessary for the country’s credibility,” Moscovici told Europe 1 radio. “We adhere to that and will keep to it.” Many economists and members of the country’s new Socialist-led government believe the 3.0-percent target is unrealistic as France strives to get growth back on track.

The national statistics office INSEE said Friday that the French economy, the second biggest in the eurozone, posted zero growth in the second quarter of 2012, its third consecutive quarter of stagnation.