Tax and spending cuts possible at the same time, French finance minister says

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French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire attends a national tribute ceremony for late French politician Simone Veil at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France (Reuters) – French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday it was possible to cut taxes and public spending at the same time, as France struggles to bring its budget deficit below the EU limit of 3 percent of economic output.

Le Maire also said no final decision on the timeframe for the tax cuts promised by President Emmanuel Macron during the campaign had been taken, suggesting the one-year delay announced by the French prime minister this week could still budge.

“No definitive decision has been taken on the timeframe for now,” Le Maire told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence.

“I think we can perfectly reduce public spending very significantly to meet our European commitments and at the same time cut taxes for French households and French companies,” he added.

Premier Edouard Philippe had said earlier this week costly fiscal measures promised by Macron, such as wealth tax exemptions and a flat tax on capital income, would take effect in 2019 and not in 2018 as previously planned.

(Reporting by Michel Rose, Leigh Thomas and Gwenaelle Barzic)

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