The French government said Thursday that public spending cuts and hoped-for faster growth would help it slash its annual budget deficit and public debt, one of the highest in the eurozone.

It is time to "cool off" public spending, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters, adding that "this is about France's European credibility".

Stretched by the government's "whatever it takes" response to the coronavirus pandemic and massive support to consumers and industry through recent peaks in inflation, France's budget deficit hit 4.7 percent of GDP in 2022 and is forecast higher this year, at 4.9 percent.

Le Maire said he aims to slash it to 2.7 percent of output in 2027, the end of President Emmanuel Macron's second term.

That is 0.2 percentage points lower than his previous target and well within the European Union's limit for normal times of 3.0 percent.

The plan is partly supported by a more optimistic growth forecast, at 1.0 percent this year, 1.6 percent in 2024 and 1.8 percent by 2027.

And the finance ministry will now strive to reduce total public debt from its current 112 percent to 108 percent of GDP over the same timeline, several points lower than previously called for.

Far above the notional European limit of 60 percent, France's debt-to-GDP ratio was behind only Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain by the third quarter of 2022, according to Eurostat.

Inflation remains the target of aggressive interest rate hikes by the European Central Bank, as it is well above Frankfurt's target of 2.0 percent for the 20-nation eurozone.

Paris is confident that price growth will begin to slow in the coming months, while predicting an average figure for this year of 4.9 percent, up from its previous forecast of 4.2 percent.

The pace was slightly higher last year, at 5.2 percent -- although France managed to keep inflation lower than many fellow single currency users with lavish subsidies for items including energy.

Le Maire's Thursday figures will be presented to the European Commission as part of France's "Stability Programme" filed by EU member states every spring.