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Newstalk

09.24 18 Nov 2015


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French leaders have reacted angrily to criticisms from the European Commission over its budgetary plans for 2016.

Prime minister, Manuel Valls says that the EU needs to stop treating defence spending in the same way that it treats spending in other areas, and that given the recent events in the country, France will not cut military and security spending to meet EU budgetary rules.

"Europe must understand, and it is time the European Commission understands too, that this is a fight that concerns France, but that concerns Europe, too,” Mr Valls said speaking on French radio. He added that Europe must accept that France will run a deficit which breaks the rules set out by the EU.

This follows comments from French President François Hollande yesterday, who said "The security pact takes precedence over the stability pact. France is at war."

The European Commission's assessment of France's spending plans will not bring the country's deficit below the EU limit of 3% before 2017 - it will be closer to 3.3%.

Pierre Moscovici, the former French finance minister who is now the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs made it clear that this report was written before last Friday's attacks.

“We will of course take into account the tragic situation faced by the country and we will evaluate the impact in due course,” he told a press conference.

It remains unclear if the newly established rules will be bent to facilitate extra security spending in France.

Meanwhile the Commission has given cautious approval to Ireland's 2016 Budget.

Get up to speed with the latest from Paris.


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