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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
France launches cyber-budget game
Screen grab of Cyber-budget site
Players have to set, present and manage the budget
The French government has launched an online game that challenges taxpayers to balance the national budget of nearly 300bn euros ($373bn).

Budget Minister Jean-Francois Cope says the game, called "cyber-budget", will allow citizens to pretend they are in charge of the national finances.

They can make decisions about spending revenue and cutting taxes.

Mr Cope says the game is as realistic as possible and includes having to present a draft budget to parliament.

The game was launched on the website www.cyber-budget.fr.

Players face national and international constraints on their budget choices and the game includes negotiations with other ministers and unexpected events, the French news agency AFP reports.

"The idea is that when we cut taxes, we can't do it without creating deficits," Mr Cope told French television ahead of the launch.

"It allows each person to get familiar with how [the budget] functions.

"In this game each French person can pretend they are the budget minister and make decisions to understand how much each [ministry's] budget costs, education spending, military spending, how it's all organised and see what kind of decision we can take when we want to cut taxes."

As budget minister, Mr Cope has to ensure France stays within the EU budget deficit limit of 3% of GDP.


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