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Eurozone countries except France, Italy on way to balance budgets by 2010

All eurozone countries but France and Italy are expected to balance their budgets by 2010 as agreed in Berlin last year, Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said Tuesday.

“We didn’t kill the deadline of 2010 (despite high oil and food prices),” Juncker told reporters on the sidelines of a European Union finance ministers’ meeting. But France is not expected to achieve the goal until 2012, he said. “All the others, apart from Italy -- because Italy has a date of 2011 -- are willing to reach their medium-term targets in 2010.”

The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, Wednesday asked France to make greater efforts to control its budget deficit. It forecast in April that France’s budget deficit was set to hit 2.9% this year and could reach 3.0%, the maximum allowed for eurozone members, in 2009. Juncker said the US economy was “looking into a recession” while the eurozone economy “is not facing any kind of recession.” (Xinhua)