France targeted in EU crackdown on excessive spending

The European Union is to reprimand France and six other member states over excessive spending that breaches the bloc’s new budget rules.

The move, expected Wednesday, will mark the first time Brussels has sanctioned nations since the EU suspended budget rules after the 2020 Covid pandemic and the ensuing energy crisis brought on by the Ukraine war.

The EU spent two years during the suspension overhauling the budget rules to make them more workable and give greater leeway for investment in critical areas like defence.

France has in the past avoided penalties for breaking EU budget rules because of its significant influence and integration within the EU. But with its mounting deficit and debt levels, it can no longer expect Brussels to turn a blind eye.

Disciplinary procedure

The European Commission will on Wednesday open an “excessive deficit procedure” against France for flouting the borrowing limit of 3 percent of GDP.

France's budget deficit was 5.5 percent of GDP last year – the second-highest in the Eurozone after Italy – while public debt is projected to reach 114 percent by 2025.

Both the far left and far right are piling up spending promises ahead of snap polls triggered by President Emmanuel Macron's EU elections defeat.

Alongside France, the commission will reportedly open excessive deficit procedures against Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.

Refusal to comply can eventually lead to fines.

Read more on RFI English

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