PARIS, FRANCE (AFP) — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday hailed French President Emmanuel Macron’s “ambitious” reform program, saying his spending, labor and tax overhauls could go “a long way” toward tackling high unemployment and weak growth.
The IMF raised its 2017 growth forecast for France by 0.1 points to 1.5 percent and said it could “further accelerate” next year.
“The new government is pushing ahead with an ambitious economic program to make France’s economy more dynamic and its public finances sustainable,” the IMF said after its annual analysis of the French economy.
“The envisaged labor and tax reforms are aimed at boosting growth, employment and competitiveness,” it added.
It also said the centrist government formed by Macron, a 39-year-old former banker, “has rightly emphasized” the need to decrease public spending.
A less profligate approach will “help gradually reduce the budget deficit and debt,” the Washington-based IMF said.
Macron’s government has pledged to meet the EU deficit limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, a target France has missed for the past decade.
It has identified €4.5 billion ($5.1 billion) in savings across government departments this year.
Local governments will also have to tighten their belts, Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said Monday, announcing €13 billion in funding cuts for towns, departments and regions by 2022.