French officials say economic reforms will go forward despite deficit
( AP )- Promised economic reforms will not be abandoned despite a sluggish French economy and inflated public debt, senior officials said Sunday.
"The more difficult the situation, the more we need reforms," Prime Minister Francois Fillon said in an interview on the TV station TF1. Labor Minister Xavier Bertrand, in another interview, said it was "unthinkable to hobble the reforms."
"We must reform to find growth," Bertrand said on LCI TV.
The government is still committed to its plan for a return to balance in the state's accounts by 2012, budget minister Eric Woerth said on BFM TV. Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said France would balance public debt at 60 percent of gross domestic product by 2012, or even "2010 if everything goes well."
According to figures released Friday by national statistics institute Insee , France's public deficit in 2007 reached 64.2 percent of gross domestic product.
France recently cut its growth forecast for 2008 to between 1.7 percent and 2 percent from 2.25 percent, and raised its deficit forecast to 2.5 percent of GDP from 2.3 percent.
President Nicolas Sarkozy , in office since May, promised reforms to modernize France and pump up the economy. Bertrand, reacting to the poor numbers, said "we were elected for five years and in 10 months you haven't done the work you have to do in five."
Fillon reiterated that an austerity plan was not in the works, just "serious management."
"State spending will not be increased," he said.