France could do better than stated 2016 deficit goal: Sapin

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin speaks during an interview with Reuters in his office at the Bercy Ministry in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) – France could do better than its stated 2016 public deficit target of 3.3 percent of gross domestic product, the country’s finance minister Michel Sapin told business newspaper Les Echos.

“I would like first of all to confirm our goal for 3.3 percent, even though some people say we won’t reach that target. But I am not ruling out that we could do better,” Sapin said in an interview due to be published in Monday’s edition.

Sapin also said he was favorable toward a financial transaction tax but only if it were implemented throughout Europe, and outlined plans for tax breaks on foreign companies’ French subsidiaries.

In September, Sapin said he expected a public deficit of 2.7 percent in 2017, unchanged from previous estimates.

Data last month showed the French economy rebounded less strongly than expected in the third quarter, making the government’s annual growth target all but impossible to reach in a blow to President Francois Hollande ahead of next year’s presidential election.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Dale Hudson)