President Hollande's successor may be tasked with handing down tough austerity measures
The European Commission warned the country's budget deficit was close to hitting 3.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018 – above the eurozone's 3 per cent cap.
That limit could even be breached this year – the Commission warned in its winter economic forecast.
France's public expenditure is expected to rise over wage increases for civil servants and rising healthcare costs.
Deficit targets set by the Commission were not met by either Nicolas Sarkozy or Francois Hollande, it was reported today.
France, the second largest economy in the eurozone, has failed to fall below three per cent since 2007.
The European Commission has said France could fail to meet the deficit criteria in 2017
Two years ago, the EU gave France until 2017 to get under its deficit ceiling.
But this very issue is one rearing its head in the presidential race.
Candidates and the public are at odds over whether they should even try to hit EU targets – or fight against them.
Emmanual Macron, currently tipped to win the election race, defended the restrictions and labelled them a source of budgetary credibility.
On the left – the issue causes discomfort – and on the right – it is met with fire.
Marine Le Pen has vowed to fight, ripping up EU spending rules and focusing on her "French first" agenda.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
The daughter of former Front National leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has promised a referendum on France's future in the 28-member state union.
So the questions posed by the Commission have rapidly reached boiling point, with France considering possible transformation of its economy.
Candidate for the presidency Marine Le Pen has said she will fight the EU over budget rules Get to know Marine Le Pen Sat, January 28, 2017
Marine Le Pen is a French politician who is the president of the National Front, a national-conservative political party in France and one of its main political forces.
Play slideshow AFP/Getty Images 1 of 10
A French politician who is the president of the National Front (FN), a national-conservative political party in France and one of its main political forces.
Bold suggestions have been made by centre-right Republican Francois Fillon, who has nodded towards a blitz of reforms to save more than €100billion by 2020
One such change would be a cap on unemployment benefits.
Meanwhile, Mrs Le Pen has mooted making foreign workers pay extra tax which will be handed to the unemployed French.
EU economy commissioner, Pierre Moscovici said budget targets are a sign of "political credibility" for the new French Government.
- Juncker won't run again and admits Brexit will cause further EU splits
- Juncker to QUIT over fears Brexit wil divide EU in continental tragedy
Emmanual Macron has defended the EU budget rules and intends to stick to them
The former french finance minister said: "My humble recommendation t the candidates is to continue.
"The economic and political credibility of the country will be reinforced."
Meanwhile in Italy, the Commission forecast public debt will increase to 132.8 per cent in 2016 – and that the record number will rise this year.
- Tensions boil over in Paris as leaders blasted 'cowardly'
- Nexit, Frexit or Grexit? The countries that could leave the EU next
- Belgian authorities stop 2,000 illegal immigrants on way to Britain