REPORTER: It's on a firm footing when it comes to fashion but France's finances aren't quite so stable. As Paris Fashion week got underway the government unveiled a budget to tackle that. It's focussing on spending cuts to stimulate the economy - although there will be tax hikes for households. There will be less tax for French businesses though in a plan to make them more competitive. Finance minister Pierre Moscovici.
FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER PIERRE MOSCOVICI: "Our financial bill is a budget to boost employment, because this is the ultimate goal of our economic policy. This is the President of the Republic's top priority."
REPORTER: The aim - to save 15 billion euros. But it's not going to be easy. 2013 has hardly seen any growth and next year's forecast is not much better at less than 1%. France's public debt is also set to hit a record high - at over 95% of GDP. Mike Ingram is from BGC.
BGC'S MIKE INGRAM: "France is very much of a concern, and in many quarters France is considered to be the new sick man of Europe. The French government or the public sector in France is, you know, massively bloated and the Hollande government over the past couple of years has shown no real willingness to rein back significantly on that. So we have this budgetary package in play at the moment. The question is can the government actually deliver on this?"
REPORTER: Economists are split on the advantages of cutting spending while the recovery is still weak. And EU officials are also quietly expressing their disappointment, particularly with the modest nature of France's pension reforms. The European Commission is giving France more time to reduce its deficit. But the re-election of an austerity-hungry German Chancellor may increase pressure on the government.
If you say that something is on a firm footing, you mean that it is in a secure position. • Once the economy is on a firm footing, the Fed will need to start boosting rates. The expression is a metaphor, your footing being the position of your feet when they are safely on the ground or some other surface.
To cut or not to cut, that is the (economic) question.