Despite the pro-business tone of France's 2014 budget, the country's largest business lobbying group said the proposals presented by the government on Wednesday were a blow for competitiveness, growth and jobs.
"We've got a problem with this French budget," Pierre Gattaz , the head of France's Mouvement des entreprises de France (MEDEF), told CNBC, following the government's budget presentation, which announced 15 billion euros ($20.2 billion) of spending cuts and 3 billion euros of tax increases.
Although the tax hikes will mainly hit households and consumers – via higher sales taxes and social insurance contributions -- the budget also included a new levy on operating profits and a 75 percent tax rate on salaries of more than 1 million euros, to be paid by companies rather than employees.
(Read more: Fears France's budget will hit its economy)
Ostensibly, however, the budget appeared to be an olive branch to French businesses that had been riled by the socialist administration's earlier plans to increase business taxes. It included a 10 billion euro tax credit for businesses to reduce the cost of labor and become more competitive, which was meant to outweigh the impact of the tax rise.