France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said it was 'extremely' possible that the country will miss its target of bringing its public deficit down to 2.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, which is below the 3.0 percent threshold required by eurozone rules.
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.
Earlier this month it was revealed that French tycoon Bernard Arnault, chief executive of luxury goods firm LVMH, the wealthiest person in France and the fourth wealthiest worldwide, has applied for dual Belgian nationality. The French conservative opposition was quick to cite it as an example of the flight of capital that will follow higher taxes the government is to impose on the country’s top income earners, while President François Hollande decried Arnault's lack of patriotism. Mediapart Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel sets out here how tax evasion has become a colossal and insitutionalised business at the centre of the economy. Fighting it has never been more urgent, yet little effort - if any - is being made to prevent it or to sanction those who are bleeding society of vital resources.