France's new Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on Thursday the "pace" of the country's deficit reduction would be discussed with the European Union. In his first public comments since being named on Wednesday, Sapin said he would work with the European Commission to "find the path to common interests" as the EU pushes France to reduce its deficit. Taking a combative tone and in a clear reference to Germany, Sapin said: "It is not up to one country to tell the others what to do ... Europe will be in better shape when France is in better shape." France has promised to reduce its public deficit from 4.3 percent of national output last year to 3.0 percent next year under the EU's Stability Pact. Sapin replaced Pierre Moscovici in a cabinet shuffle prompted by the ruling Socialists' dismal showing in local elections on Sunday. President Francois Hollande's government is struggling to rein in public finances amid stagnant economic output and rising joblessness, making his administration deeply unpopular. Sapin said that France would not abandon efforts to reduce the deficit but provided no timeline. "The goals are goals that we will meet," he said several times.