France submits its annual budget to Brussels on Wednesday, disregarding calls from EU officials to introduce more cuts.
With left-wing MPs deeply unhappy over austerity, President Francois Hollande’s government looks set not only for a rebuttal from the EU but for a rebellion in the National Assembly in Paris as well.
Whatever hopes the officials in Brussels had of softening the French stance, these have been dashed.
No, France will not review its annual budget for 2015.
“The European Commission doesn’t have the power to ‘reject’ or ‘censure’ the budget,” Finance Minister Michel Sapin said earlier this week. “Here, sovereignty belongs to the parliament.”
Under EU rules, the Commission has the power to oversee a member state’s budget and can take legal action, recommending changes and targets if it does not stick to fiscal discipline.
But Mr Sapin’s defiant words echoed those of Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who said France was “a big country that should be respected”. In other words, nothing will persuade France to change its plans.
Earlier this month France put forward an annual budget that included 21bn euros (£17bn; $27bn) of cuts – but admitted it would miss its EU deficit target of 3% of GDP for the third time.
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