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EU grants France two-year extension on budget deficit

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin (L)  with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis during the 10 March European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin (L) with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis during the 10 March European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels Reuters//Yves Herman

European finance ministers on Tuesday gave France an extra two years to reach budget deficit targets, endorsing a proposal by European Commission last month. This is the third extension granted to the European Union’s second-largest economy.

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At a meeting that was dominated by discussion of the new Greek government’s negotiations with the European Union, the finance ministers rubber-stamped the commission’s

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

recommendation that France be given until the end of 2017 to bring its deficit to below 3.0 per cent of GDP.

This is the third time France has won an extension since 2009.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said the decision was a recognition of the government’s “good work”.

“Europe is there to help us, it’s not there to punish us,” he said after the meeting. “Every time people talk about punishment, they’re not helping democracy, they’re helping the extremes.”
 

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