The French audit office, la Cour des Comptes, on Tuesday estimated that the government's deficit target was unlikely to be reached this year, saying the Socialists should face tougher cuts to respect their financial commitments.
In its annual review of public finances, the audit office's head Didier Migaud said the government has little chance to deliver on his promise to trim the budget gap to 3.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014 "given many uncertainties and significant risks..."
"2014 deficit target remains uncertain. Additional structural efforts will be needed over the next few years, including a sharp slowdown in spending growth to return to structural balance of public accounts," the natioanl accounting office said.
According to Migaud, "assumptions of employment level and growth in the private sector's payroll appear fragile, like those related to revenue elasticity," a fact that would force the government to further save additional 6 billion euros (8.2 billion U.S. dollars) this year and fuel public anger.
In its new report, la Cour des Comptes considered "plausible" the Socialists' growth forecast of 0.9 pecent this year but that of employment was risky as the loss of tax revenue could reach up to 4 billion euros in 2014.
Furthermore, the audit office recommended "fundamental reforms in the various public administrations," and to focus on social security and local finances in which "the most important savings can be achieved."
For 2013, "there is a real risk that the public deficit exceeds the latest government forecast of 4.1 percent of GDP," Migaud said.
Unveiling this year's budget draft, the government said it wanted to accelerate growth by 0.8 percentage points from an expected 0.1 percent in 2013 and saw 2014's deficit at 82.2 billion euros, or 3.6 percent of GDP, down from expected 4.1 percent this year.
It aims to clinch the belt by squeezing public spending by 15 billion euros and slash 13,123 public posts in the non-priority ministries in order to create about 11,000 jobs in education, justice and the police services. (1 euro = 1.37 U.S. dllars)