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By Jack Duffy
     PARIS (MNI) - The French government said Tuesday it will meet the 3.0%
Maastricht Treaty deficit target this year for the first time since 2008.
     The Finance Ministry said the deficit for 2017 will be 2.9% of GDP, and it
revised its forecast for next year downward to 2.6% from 2.7%. 
     "The government is thus working resolutely towards an exit in 2018 from the
European excessive deficit procedure," the ministry said in a statement.
     The French economy is set to grow by 1.7% this year and next, the ministry
said. The 2018 forecast "marks the government's choice of sincerity and
responsibility rather than the ease of optimistic forecasts that have too often
led to the postponement of necessary reforms," the ministry said.
     For 2018, public spending will amount to 53.9% of GDP, down 0.7 percentage
points, which the ministry said was the biggest fall in 15 years.
     Budget minister Gerald Darmanin said Monday that the French recovery was
strong enough for spending to be reduced without growth being affected.
     The government will unveil its 2018 budget officially next Wednesday, Sept.
27.
--MNI Paris Bureau; tel: +33 1-42-71-55-41; email: jack.duffy@marketnews.com
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email: les.commons@marketnews.com
[TOPICS: MAFDS$,M$E$$$,M$F$$$,M$X$$$,MC$$$$,MFF$$$,MFX$$$,MGX$$$,M$XDS$]
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com