French political camps draw battle lines over economic policies

As France heads for snap elections, political parties' economic policies are under extra scrutiny after the European Commission this week rebuked the country over its failure to keep its budget deficit within EU limits.

The Commission’s announcement on Wednesday has added to concerns that the high-spending programmes of both the far-right National Rally (RN) and New Popular Front (NPF) left-wing alliance will dig an even bigger hole in public finances.

The NPF announced on Friday that, if elected, it would push public spending up to 100 billion euros next year.

"In the year of 2025, public spending could reach 100 billion euros," senior alliance member Eric Coquerel told reporters, adding that tax hikes would in turn generate 100 billion euros in 2025 and 150 billion in 2026-2027.

The NPF also aims to raise public sector wages, link salaries to inflation, cut income tax and social security for lower earners, and introduce a wealth tax for the rich.

Notably, it has pledged to reverse President Emmanuel Macron's controversial pension reforms and bring the retirement age back down to 60.

Tax cuts galore

The anti-immigration RN, which is leading the polls, has also committed to reducing the age of retirement to 60, but only for those who began working aged 20 or under.

The party has promised to cut VAT on petrol, oil, gas and electricity – measures the Finance Ministry estimates at 16.8 billion euros per year.

(with newswires)

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