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France financial woes add to president's problems following local elections

France financial woes add to president's problems following local elections
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There are new elected representatives in France but they face the same economic problems.

“Punishment” was the front page verdict of the leftist daily newspaper Liberation. The question being asked is: how has the two year rule of the Socialist president hit the pockets and jobs of voters, and is that what led to the electoral hammering?

To add to the ballot battering there were more woes for the government as it woke to new data from Insee, the national statistics institute, reflecting economic performance in 2013.

The public deficit – that is the gap between spending and revenues – amounted to 4.3 percent of national output, which is above the government’s target of 4.2 percent at this time.

The public debt burden rose while the jobs market also suffered. The number of unemployed people was up by 0.9 percent in February from the same month last year, hitting a record 3.34 million.

“There is no major labour market reform on the horizon any more. He’s probably not doing enough any more to really set France free of these shackles that hold it back. We also don’t expect France to enter recession or even a financial crisis,” said economist Christian Schulz of Berenberg Bank

Only 40 percent of French people are in work of any kind and more days are lost through industrial action than in any other European Union state.

The figures from Insee and Sunday’s electoral result are a stark reminder of the huge task in political and economic terms ahead for the French government if it is to meet its commitment to the European Union to reduce the deficit to less than 3.0 percent of GDP in 2015.