France 'sure' that EC will approve its under-target 2015 budget plan

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French economy minister said he is 'totally sure' of commission's approval, even though budget deficit targets would not be met before 2017.

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French economy minister Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday he was sure the European Commission would not reject Paris's 2015 budget although it breaks EU deficit limits, reports Reuters.

"I am totally sure at this stage that there will be no negative opinion from the Commission," he said in a joint interview with RTL radio, LCI television and Le Figaro daily.

France announced earlier this month it would not bring its deficit within the euro zone's 3 percent of national output ceiling until 2017, four years later than promised, risking becoming the first EU country to have its fiscal plan rejected.

The European Commission, the EU executive, will scrutinise draft euro zone budgets to ensure they are in line with EU rules. If the main parameters of a draft budget fall well short of the country's earlier consolidation promises, the Commission can send the draft back until the end of the month for changes.

Asked whether he thought this could happen for France, Macron answered: "No. I have no doubt about this."

Macron said a weakening in Germany's economy could make a deal easier between Berlin and Paris. German officials have in recent months lectured France on the need for more hard-hitting economic reforms.

"Today we have all the conditions to do a new step with our German partners," he said. "The key today is that our interests are more in line."

Hit by the effect of crises abroad, a weak euro zone and limp domestic demand, Germany has slashed its growth forecasts to 1.2 percent in 2014 from 1.8 percent and to 1.3 percent in 2015 from 2.0 percent.

German weekly Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that Germany and France were discussing a deal to enable the European Commission to clear France's draft 2015 budget.

However, both Macron and a German government official said this was wrong and that there was no agreement.

Read more of this report from Reuters.

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