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France unveils £16.3bn cuts plan

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French finance minister Michel Sapin addresses reporters during the presentation of the 2015 budget at the finance ministry in Paris (AP)

French finance minister Michel Sapin addresses reporters during the presentation of the 2015 budget at the finance ministry in Paris (AP)

French finance minister Michel Sapin addresses reporters during the presentation of the 2015 budget at the finance ministry in Paris (AP)

France's Socialist government has detailed a €21bn (£16.3bn) cost-cutting plan, the biggest in the country's modern history, saying it will focus on trimming welfare benefits.

Presenting the 2015 budget, finance minister Michel Sapin said the measures show the government is serious about reining in its budget deficit, which is above European Union limits.

"These spending cuts are crucial to our credibility in the eyes of the French and Europeans. They'll be fully applied," he said.

Mr Sapin insisted, however, that they are not austerity measures as they will be accompanied by tax cuts as well. The government hopes the reforms will assuage EU authorities.

Belfast Telegraph