PARIS, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- French President Francois Hollande on Saturday reiterated his promise to reach zero deficit by 2017 via public spending cuts and growth stimulus.
"The path is that of achieving a balanced public finances at the end of the mandate. To meet that goal, there is no need to add more austerity in 2013. A lot has already been asked of the taxpayer," Hollande said during an annual agriculture show in Paris.
In a bid to respect the EU deficit limit of 3 percent, Hollande planned in 2014 to squeeze public spending by clinching the belt of the state budget, local budgets and the social security budget.
On Friday, The European Commission painted a grim picture of the French economy set to flatline with just 0.1-percent growth, while the country's budget gap will remain above the European safe line.
"Figures from the European Commission take into account the slowdown and even recession throughout Europe... The Commission notes that we have made a considerable effort," the president said.
With an expected feeble growth, the unemployment rate would rise further, Hollande acknowledged.
"If we can accelerate, anticipate recovery in 2014, we will create more new jobs," he added.
Expecting "a great battle for jobs" in 2013, the French head of state pledged to overturn the alarming unemployment rise by the end of this year through tens of thousands of state-sponsored job contracts.