France's burgeoning public debt rose by 43.2 billion Euros (USD 55.5 billion) in the second quarter of 2012 and now stands at 1.83 trillion Euros (USD 2.35 trillion) or 91 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to data published Friday.
The National Statistics Institute (INSEE) said that the latest figure could be revised but it nonetheless illustrates the difficulty the new Socialist government faces in bringing down debt at a time it needs to borrow to keep the economy on an even keel.
With the economy stagnating and efforts underway to tackle deficits - with signs of some success there - borrowing seems inevitable, even if lenders accord extremely low rates to the French government in bond markets.
The debt-to-GDP ratio has risen 1.7 percent from the first to second quarters this year and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said as recently as Thursday evening that interest payments on this debt are the biggest budget item for his government, surpassing spending on health, education and defence.
About 1.4 trillion Euros in the overall debt amount has been negotiated long-term and there is no immediate crisis, but the longer term trend is of concern given the high interest reimbursements overall.
Under the temporarily-defunct rules of the Maastricht Treaty signed by European Union members in 1992, debt should not go above 60 percent of GDP, but the series of financial and economic crises since 2008 have given tacit latitude to countries in this area.