Ahead of a vote in parliament next month, the French cabinet on Wednesday approved adoption of the European fiscal treaty, the TSCG, which will require governments to limit their public deficits to 0.5 percent of gross domestic product. To prepare to meet the target, French President François Hollande has pledged to reduce the country’s huge public deficit to 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, with a raft of spending cuts and tax increases contained in a new public finances law to be presented before parliament on September 28th. It represents the most severe austerity programme to be introduced in France for 50 years. But a number of leading French economists, including several who publicly supported Hollande’s election campaign, now warn of the potentially catastrophic effects of the tough austerity programme. They argue that the policies will further starve economic growth and thereby simply worsen public finances, leading to a never-ending spiral of recession and austerity. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.