French President Nicolas Sarkozy has set out his plans to deal with the country’s faltering economy, portraying himself as the man tough enough to take tough decisions.
In an interview broadcast live on nine major French channels, Sarkozy also defended his efforts to save the euro but stressed Europe still had to work closely together.
“The measures that were taken by France, the measures taken by Europe and the regulation measures taken by the G20, allowed things to stabilise,” said the president. “The financial crisis is calming down, Europe is no longer on the edge of an abyss. All our efforts must now be dedicated to the resolution of the economic crisis.”
During the hour long broadcast, Sarkozy presented a series of reforms designed to create more jobs, and improve business competitiveness. France currently has a 12-year high unemployment rate.
Sarkozy aims to waive some employer social security payments to allow them to reduce their costs, making their products cheaper and hopefully boosting exports. To pay for this he wants to increase VAT. He also announced changes which would allow for companies to abolish the 35-hour working week, if a majority of workers agreed.
Many in Sarkozy’s right wing UMP party have called the moves “electoral suicide”. France holds presidential elections in three months. Sarkozy still has not said outright if he will stand.