France is set to overrun its budget deficit target for the second consecutive year in 2024, and aims to achieve an additional €10 billion in cuts to lower the shortfall, according to the finance ministry.

The government is facing pressure to articulate its strategy for avoiding a budget crisis, which is jeopardising its credit ratings and posing a threat to President Emmanuel Macron's administration.

Sluggish economic growth, elevated interest rates, and extensive spending to bolster the economy post-pandemic have combined to elevate the country's deficit beyond the EU's spending threshold of 3% of GDP.

Following a significant deviation from last year's deficit target, the government revised its projections for the upcoming years before submitting its reduction plan to Brussels on Wednesday, Reuters news agency reports.

The government now forecasts the shortfall to reach 5.1% of economic output rather than the original 4.4% of GDP target for this year, before gradually declining to 4.1% in 2025 and 2.9% in 2027.

During a briefing with reporters, finance ministry officials stated that the government's objective would be to cut an additional €10 billion in public spending in 2024, building upon the announcement of €10 billion in emergency cuts made earlier this year.

Half of this reduction would be sourced from the central government, with €2.5 billion allocated from local authorities and another €2.5 billion expected from energy companies' profits, describing these new targets as "ambitious but credible."

President Macron faces pressure from conservatives, upon whom he depends on to form a government, advocating for further spending cuts. Meanwhile, the opposition has criticised any additional austerity measures.

The head of the Socialist Party, Boris Vallaud, said the new deficit measures were "irresponsible, unrealistic, unfair, and inefficient."

The government, lacking a majority, faces the risk of a no-confidence motion if conservatives follow through on their threat to propose one during budget discussions in parliament.

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