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French lawmakers OK 50 billion euro spending cut

April 29, 2014

PARIS (AP) — French lawmakers have given Socialist Prime Minister Manual Valls a symbolic go-ahead to rein in the country’s debt and deficit, approving 50 billion euros ($69 billion) in spending cuts.

In a Tuesday vote, the lower house approved by 265-232 the plan for deep spending cuts by 2017 — the biggest such reduction in France in half a century.

The vote was consultative, but Valls said it “conditions” the government’s “capacity to govern.”

The cuts include 18 billion euros in government spending, and another 10 billion euros in spending by local governments. Most controversial are plans to trim 21 billion euros from state pensions, health care and the social safety net.

The plan divided even Socialists, with some 40 abstaining. Conservative leader Jean-Francois Cope denounced the plan as an “optical illusion.”

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