VIENNA (Reuters) - France is committed to reforming its economy and bringing down its budget deficit but will do so as it - not the European Commission - sees fit, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said.
His comments to Austria's ORF radio mirrored President Francois Hollande stance last week that the Commission cannot "dictate" reforms to members - a defiant, nationalist tone that irked Germany's ruling conservatives.
Speaking German in the interview aired on Thursday, Ayrault said France had already begun to implement reforms and was in discussions with Brussels.
"The goals are the same (for) the Commission and my government. But the methods for doing this are our affair. That means we have our special social model that we will defend, but we also know that we have to reform it and will do so," he said.
The EU executive has urged France to rein in public spending, cut labor costs and reform its pension system in return for winning two extra years to bring its budget deficit below the EU's official ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product.
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Susan Fenton)