France revises growth forecast downwardsSunday 07 April 2013 11.16
French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said today he would revise growth forecasts downwards, in line with European Commission estimates.
The eurozone's second-largest economy is struggling to meet economic targets.
The Socialist government had previously said its growth target could be too optimistic.
It acknowledged it will miss a 2013 goal of bringing its deficit down to 3% of output, urging Germany to grant it more time to meet the target.
Speaking on Europe 1 radio, Mr Moscovici said France had decided to offer the European Commission "prudent and realistic estimations" when it presents its new growth and deficit forecasts in mid-April.
France's economy shrank by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012, official data showed last month, as rampant unemployment weighed on household spending.
Mr Moscovici said the forecast for GDP growth would be 0.1% rather than the 0.8% on which the government built its budget for 2013.
"It's the figure given by the European Commission, it's the figure given by France and I believe it corresponds with what we can actually achieve at least," Mr Moscovici said.
He said that 2014 growth would be revised to 1.2% from 2% and hoped it would rise to 2% in 2015.
The new forecasts are in line with the Commission's pessimistic view, as President Francois Hollande struggles to reverse a rise in unemployment, above a 13-year high.
Mr Moscovici confirmed the deficit-cutting timetable would target 3.7% of GDP by the end of this year with a view to hitting the EU's 3% goal in 2014.
"I think we have to base ourselves on these figures," he said. "We could do a little more ... I hope it will be more."