France was urged on Wednesday to stick to its promise to balance its books by 2010 amid growing fears in Brussels that Europe is failing to use the economic recovery to restore order to its public finances.

Joaquín Almunia, EU monetary affairs commissioner, said many member states were not using booming tax revenues to eliminate their deficits and some were using the cash for pro-cyclical spending.

He is concerned that France will set a bad example and break its promise to achieve a balanced budget by 2010, in spite of assurances from Paris that it will honour its commitments.

Mr Almunia is waiting to see final budget plans from Nicolas Sarkozy’s new administration, but urged the French president to match his policies with his rhetoric over the need for more eurozone co-operation – or “economic government”.

“I hope all those who want to increase the co-operation in economic policies in the eurozone or to strengthen its governance are in a position to co-ordinate their own decisions with others in the eurozone,” he said.

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