France Appeals for German Leniency on Deficit

Cracks in France…as Southern Europe Moves Ahead

France urged Germany on Thursday to grant it more time to hit its public deficit-cutting target, but denied it was turning into the new "sick man of Europe" even as data pointed to a deepening French downturn.

France has acknowledged it will miss a 2013 goal of bringing its deficit down to 3 percent of output and wants its EU partners - and notably Germany, the euro zone's largest economy - to give it another year to meet the target.

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Speaking at an event in the border city of Strasbourg to mark the Franco-German partnership, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici asked his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble not to risk hobbling the French economy by insisting on more austerity.