France will submit its 2015 budget to the European Commission today and, after a respectable period of consideration, it is likely to be thrown right back.
Paris has confirmed it will yet again miss the EU’s debt limits, failing to achieve a budget deficit of three percent of GDP until 2017 four years after it should have done.
EU officials have warned they could use their powers to reject the budget outright – a political humiliation for Paris. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin ruled out substantive changes on Tuesday though he expressed hope that a rift could be avoided.
The dispute is a test of new euro zone powers to police public finances. Given that it comes against a backdrop of a wider debate about how to use government money to help the stagnating European economy a scramble is underway to find a face-saving deal over the next month or so.
The German and French economy ministers have asked experts in Berlin and Paris to come up with reform recommendations for both countries in an apparent attempt to avert a full-blown clash over economic policy.