France threatens to ignore deficit cut warning

France on Tuesday defied the European Union's economic rules by suggesting it may not abide by an official order from the other governments to reduce its deficit sharply in the next four years. One finance minister said France's threat not to comply with the warning could undermine the pact's strength.

The stand-off between Paris and other national capitals, backed by the European Commission, is set to become the most important test yet of the credibility of the stability and growth pact - the

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