French economy to grow 1.75% in 2012: budget

PARIS, Sept 28, 2011 (AFP) - The French economy should grow 1.75 percent in 2012 if the "current turbulence" linked to the eurozone crisis dissipates, according to the draft budget put before the cabinet on Wednesday.

France's public deficit will reach 5.7 percent of gross domestic product this year, before dropping to 4.5 percent in 2012 and then to the European Union's target threshold of 3.0 percent in 2013 and 2.0 percent in 2014.

For the first time, the government also undertook to bring the deficit down to 1.0 percent in 2015 as it seeks to put the strained public finances in order.

However, France's total, accumulated debt will be higher than previously expected, largely because of France's contribution to rescue funds for bailed out eurozone countries such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

Already expected to reach a record 85.5 percent of GDP this year, accumulated debt will reach 87.4 percent in 2012, half a percentage point higher than the previous estimate.

Debt will be 87.3 percent of GDP in 2013 before dropping to 86.2 percent in 2014 and 84.1 percent in 2015 -- leaving it still well above the EU ceiling of 60 percent.

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