France will respect deficit target and timeline mandated by the EU but it would negotiate the pace of achieving its financial commitments, Finances Minister Michel Sapin said Thursday.
Speaking to RTL radio, Sapin said the Eurozone's second largest economy would reduce its gap to EU limit of 3 percent slower than projected but dismissed negotiation to have a further delay.
"The rhythm has been modified and discussed to be well understood. Our pace is a little slower than expected but the deadline will be respected," the minister said.
"I did not ask for more time," he added in response of growing speculations over a possible extension of the delay after Paris reported worse-than-expected deficit at 4.3 percent last year while growth was still too weak to help generating high revenue.
Last year, the European commission granted Paris an extra time to rein its finances and reduce its gap to 3 percent by 2015.
To honor its commitments, the government pledged to save 50 billion euros (69.28 billion U.S. dollars) over the next three years mainly by slashing public spending.
It will represent next week a refreshed stability program detailing its plan to put in order the country's unhealthy finances. (1 euro = 1.385 U.S. dollar)