Economic emergency in France

While not seeking to assume any new emergency powers, Hollande laid out a plan to catch up with the world

Paris: French President Francois Hollande yesterday pledged to redefine France's business model and declared what he called “a state of economic and social emergency,” unveiling a 2-billion-euro ($ 2.2 billion) plan to revive hiring and catch up with a fast-moving world economy.

President Francois HollandeFrench President Francois Hollande

The measures he proposed, however, are relatively modest, and he said they would not “put into question” the 35-hour work week.

With his country under a state of emergency since the attacks in November, Hollande did not seek to assume any new emergency powers over the economy.

In an annual speech to business leaders, Hollande laid out plans for training half a million jobless workers, greater use of apprenticeships, and aid for companies that hire young workers.

Hollande's Socialist government has struggled to boost long-stagnant French growth or reduce chronic unemployment, which has been around 10 per cent for years. He also stressed the urgency of updating France's labour-friendly business model in an increasingly border-free, online economy. The measures included a loosening of France's rigid working time rules, and a bonus of 2,000 euros to small businesses that hire young people.

He said there's a need to integrate youth from France's troubled suburbs, including minorities who face job discrimination, into the global economy.   Some measures that will be included in draft economic reform laws will be presented in the parliament soon.    

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