François Hollande came out fighting at a news conference marking his first anniversary as France’s President – a day after data showed the country is back in recession.
Hollande told journalists at the Elysée: “France can reach the highest level, but that requires us to strengthen our economy and our companies.
“We need to develop the best level of research and to set a high bar for our educational system, but it also requires change: adapting our production processes, our transport system, making ecological change.
“Yes, France can retain its social model, but by renovating it to make it more efficient, more fair,” Hollande continued.
The Socialist President said he would ensure that more people get into work – the key to turning the economy around.
Hollande said: “Being on the offensive means mobilising all our forces for employment and that’s why I made a personal commitment to reversing the unemployment trend – some people said that I rushed into that without enough precaution.
“But I hold on to that promise and that’s the road map for the government,” Hollande concluded.
Euronews correspondent Giovanni Magi reported from Paris: “The President holds a press conference every six months and this one comes at a time when bad news about the French economy is piling up.
“The question is whether at the next conference, the climate will be different – and also whether the make-up of the government will also have changed,” reported Magi.
There is speculation that Hollande may be poised to reshuffle his cabinet.