French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici on Wednesday expected slight growth of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter in a challenging economic climate.
Speaking in an interview with the news channel BFMTY, Moscovici defended the government's recovery program, which calls for creating tens of thousands of new jobs, as well as reaching 0.8-percent growth next year while keeping unchanged the previous target of 3 percent of public deficit by 2013 despite grim EU forecasts.
"We know where we're going. We have an objective which is the recovery. We are in the task. We are a team that works hard in the service of the French and we inherited a catastrophic economic situation," the minister said.
"I am confident in French growth. I think we might have in the third quarter a slightly positive growth," he stressed.
However, record high joblessness and grim economic outlook could increase risks of below-financial targets that would force the Socialists to make more savings in a context of climbing public disenchantment.
According to the national statistics institute, Insee, France was set to report zero growth over the third and fourth quarters of the year, compared to an initial forecast of 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent respectively, pointing to eventual stagnation for the five consecutive quarter since the post-war period.