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Dutch Fin Min: French Must Stick To Budget

Monday, February 11, 2008

ECOFIN: Dutch Fin Min: French Must Stick To Budget Deadline

BRUSSELS -(Dow Jones)- The French government must stick to an agreement reached by euro-zone members in Berlin last year to balance their budgets by 2010, Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos said Monday.

The deal was struck in April, but following its election in May, the French government of President Nicholas Sarkozy said it may only be able to balance its budget in 2010 as it focuses on tax cuts designed to boost economic growth over the long-term.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting of finance ministers from the euro zone, Bos said all governments should honor the agreement.

"We should stick to the rules we agreed on," he said.

Bos said the euro-zone economy is likely to slow this year, but less severely than the U.S. economy.

"I guess there will be a slowdown in growth, less so than in the U.S.," he said. "I don't think we should panic now."

Bos also said he was happy with the statement on foreign exchange rates issued by members of the Group of Seven leading developed economies at their meeting in Tokyo Saturday.

The G7 left its views on foreign exchange rates largely unchanged, despite growing unease among euro-zone businesses about the U.S. dollar's weakness against the euro.

"I'm happy with the statement," Bos said. "I think it's fine like this."

Posted by MOHAMED SAID at 11:28 AM  

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