After better-than-expected deficit data for 2014, France's finance minister Michel Sapin said there were reasons to be confident about growth.
Former Italian PM said French economic decline and a rise in Eurosceptism and populism weakens Franco-German 'entente' and therefore the EU.
In a third reprieve obtained by Paris, the European Commission has allowed France until 2017 to bring its public deficit to under 3% of GDP.
Officials fear leaving Paris unpunished for persistently failing to curb its budget deficit may make it harder for euro to weather a future crisis.
European Court of Justice ruled that France must apply full VAT rate of 20% for digital books as only print versions qualify for lower taxes.
A mini-reshuffle has taken place involving President François Hollande's senior advisor on the European Union. First the advisor was shunted to the prime minister's office, then it was confirmed he would remain as the head of state's 'sherpa' in charge of summit meetings in Brussels. As Ludovic Lamant and Mathieu Magnaudeix explain, this rearranging of advisors on the deck of state is symbolic of how, nearly three years after his election, President Hollande has shown himself incapable of presenting a clear, coherent and strong policy on Europe that would enable France to punch its full weight in Brussels. The result, fear some observers, is that France has lost considerable clout in the corridors of European power.
According to a poll, 41 percent of French people view the EU positively, up from 31 percent a year ago and the highest since 2008.
Finance minister Michel Sapin says targets are 'demanding' but realistic as France faces having to find additional savings by 2017.
EU officials are to grant an extra two years to French government, who now have until 2017 to bring deficit down to under 3% of GDP.
President Hollande agreed that Europe needed to spur more growth – but said that Greece also had to abide by EU rules and obligations.
Sections of the Left in France greeted Syriza's triumph in the Greek elections on Sunday with great enthusiasm, with some hailing it as an “historic moment”. But the success of the Greek party, which unites various left-wing groups, has also highlighted the continuing divisions on the Left in France and its own failure to create a lasting electoral coalition. At the same time the challenges facing the new Syriza government, which is seeking to end austerity and renegotiate its debt burden with the EU and international bodies, underline the problems facing any left-wing administration in Europe. A key question is whether France's own socialist president, François Hollande, will now seize the opportunity to change economic direction and push the EU and Germany to back more growth-oriented policies. First, Mediapart's Stéphane Alliès, in Paris, examines how the French Left will react to the Greek results, then Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant wonders whether any truly left-wing policies can be carried out by national governments under current eurozone rules.
Finance minister says Paris still pushing for tax on financial transactions despite fact that deadline for an agreement has passed.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon Tweets attack after German leader asked France for more budget tightening; German minister strikes softer tone.
German chancellor says she agrees with European Commission analysis that Paris has begun reforms but has not yet gone far enough.