BRUSSELS – France is likely to be given two more years to reach its budget deficit goals, the EU's top economic official said on Friday, following in Spain's footsteps as the euro zone relaxes its strict austerity policies.
"In France, the recovery is now expected to be delayed," EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn told a news conference. "Considering the economic situation, it may be reasonable to extend the deadline by two years and to correct the excessive deficit at the latest by 2015 in France," he said.
Similar leeway is set to be given to Spain, Rehn said, and there may be a year extra for the Netherlands and Slovenia to meet their budget deficit goals.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott and Jan Strupczewski)