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France presents 'new measures' to appease EU over budget

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin (C) gestures as he visits the Creative Valley start-up incubator in Le Kremlin-Bicetre, south of Paris, on October 23, 2014Crisis-hit France, which has come under fire from the European Union for breaking the bloc’s spending rules, announced “new measures” and “clarifications” to its budget Monday to reduce its deficit by 3.6 billion euros ($4.6 billion). Finance Minister Michel Sapin announced there were certain pieces of “good news”, notably a reduction in interest rates that brought down the cost of financing the country’s debt, that had allowed France to trim its deficit. Paris has said that next year’s deficit — the shortfall between revenue and spending — will hit 4.3 percent of annual economic output, far above the EU’s 3.0 percent ceiling, and as a result Brussels could potentially demand changes to the budget. EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Jyrki Katainen has written to Paris to demand explanations for the overshoot, according to a letter confirmed by French President Francois Hollande on Friday.

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