President Francois Hollande will attempt to show the European Commission that France is serious about public-spending cuts with his 2014 budget today, after changes to the pension system failed to impress.
“There’s always the question of whether the glass is half full or half empty” with France, European Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said at a Sept. 13 meeting of euro-area finance ministers. “France is going in the right direction in terms of economic reforms but there is still much more to do.”
The remarks reflect Rehn’s tepid reception of Hollande’s pension-system tweaks, announced Aug. 28. When the Brussels-based commission gave Hollande two extra years to reduce France’s budget deficit in May, it urged the Socialist president to use the time to revamp Europe’s second-largest economy to bolster growth. With the pensions plan failing to pass muster, the 2014 budget may come in for tougher scrutiny.
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