The European Union’s executive arm has criticised France for running up excessive debt, a stinging rebuke that comes as where President Emmanuel Macron facing a strong political challenges.

France was one of seven nations instructed by the EU Commission to start an “excessive deficit procedure”, the first step in a long process before any member state can be hemmed in and moved to take corrective action.

For decades, the EU has set out targets for member states to keep their annual deficit within 3 per cent of GDP and keep overall debt within 60 per cent of output. During that time, such targets have been disregarded when it was convenient, sometimes even by Germany and France, the biggest EU economies. France`s annual deficit stood over 5 per cent last year.

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