France - Public finance



The fiscal year runs from 1 January to 31 December. Deficits have been commonplace, but in recent years, efforts have been made to cut back on the growth of taxes and government spending and, since 1986, to remove major state enterprises from the expense of government ownership.

Deficit reduction became a top priority of the government when France committed to the European Monetary Union (EMU). Maastricht Treaty targets for the EMU required France to reduce the government's budget deficit to 3% of GDP by 1997. The government still maintains a fairly tight hold on myriad enterprises, ranging from energy to financial services to industry; government spending accounted for 52% of GDP in 2001.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 2000 France's central government took in revenues of approximately $210 billion and had expenditures of $240 billion. Overall, the government registered a deficit of approximately $30 billion. External debt totaled $106 billion.

The following table shows an itemized breakdown of government revenues and expenditures. The percentages were calculated from data reported by the International Monetary Fund. The dollar amounts (millions) are based on the CIA estimates provided above.

France

REVENUE AND GRANTS 100.0% 210,000
Tax revenue 91.4% 191,855
Non-tax revenue 6.0% 12,568
Capital revenue 1.2% 2,461
Grants 1.5% 3,116
EXPENDITURES 100.0% 240,000
General public services 6.5% 15,607
Defense 5.3% 12,838
Public order and safety 1.3% 3,035
Education 7.0% 16,916
Health 21.7% 52,115
Social security 38.8% 93,183
Housing and community amenities 1.1% 2,747
Recreation, cultural, and religious affairs 0.6% 1,474
Economic affairs and services 8.2% 19,786
Other expenditures 3.3% 8,019
Interest payments 5.9% 14,277

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