According to the 2015 winter forecast, GDP growth is expected to gain momentum after having stagnated for the last three years. A slight acceleration in investment is projected from 2015 onwards. Despite a rebound in external demand, net exports are set to dampen growth in the medium term. Unemployment is expected to remain high in the next two years. Recent price developments in France reflect external factors but also weak aggregate demand. Despite some improvement in 2012 and 2013, the current account balance has been on a downward trend since 1997. Public deficits, which were already high before the crisis, remain excessive and affect the government debt adversely.
France is experiencing excessive macroeconomic imbalances, which require decisive policy action and specific monitoring. The Commission decided to step up the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure for France in February 2015. In a context of low growth and low inflation, coupled with a poor profitability of companies, and given the insufficient policy response so far, risks stemming from the deterioration in both cost and non-cost competitiveness and from the high and rising French indebtedness, in particular public debt have significantly increased. The need for action so as to reduce the risk of adverse effects on the French economy and, given its size, of negative spillovers to the economic and monetary union, is particularly important.
Read a complete analysis of France's economy in the country report 2015 [2 MB]
The Commission has made seven country-specific recommendations to France to help it improve its economic performance, which have been approved by all EU member states. These are in the areas of: public finances; cost competitiveness; non-cost competitiveness; competition in the services sector and network industries; taxation; labour market; education and transition from school to work.