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French economic growth grounds to halt

Thursday - 2/14/2013, 7:10am  ET

PARIS (AP) -- New figures show French economic growth last year ground to a halt, with GDP contracting to a flat 0 percent.

The French government numbers Thursday show GDP was down from 1.7 percent in 2011.

Independent auditors for the government called on France earlier this week to get its finances in order, saying the country is spending too much money -- much of it on wasteful programs -- and not taking in enough money in taxes.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault late Tuesday acknowledged that France would miss ambitious budget targets intended to stabilize its economy and meet European requirements. France is the world's 5th largest economy and the second-largest in Europe after Germany.

"Growth in France, Europe and the world is weaker than expected," Ayrault said.

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