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François Hollande: A Private Affair?

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François Hollande: A Private Affair?

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Giovanni Magi, our correspondent in Paris, was at François Hollande’s press conference at the Elysée Palace on Tuesday.

We asked him about the atmosphere.

Raphaele Tavernier, euronews:
“Did the recent revelations about the French President’s private life get in the way of this big meeting with the media?”

Giovanni Magi, euronews:
“No, as it turns out, because he did not mention the issue during his introductory speech. It was broached, in the first question, put by the head of the group of journalists officially accredited at the Elysée Palace. The president replied, with very few words, saying that it was a personal matter and as such it would be dealt with in private.”

Raphaele Tavernier:
“So François Hollande just brushed aside the question. Were the journalists disappointed? Frustrated?”

Giovanni Magi:
“I spoke to several colleagues before the press conference…Americans, Italians, Spaniards, who come from countries in which politicians’ private lives are discussed more readily. And all agreed that perhaps France is changing,

“Given the level of interest, perhaps it is becoming a ‘normal’ presidency, just as François Hollande said during his election campaign. A rather more normal presidency in the light of other countries in which politicians’ private lives are always in the spotlight.”

Raphaele Tavernier:
“It is François Hollande’s third press conference since the start of his five year term. In his New Year’s address on television, he outlined new economic plans. So, apart from the controversy over his private life, what did he say of interest?”

Giovanni Magi:
“The biggest announcement was the phasing out by 2017 of family allowance contributions paid by employers and the self-employed. That will reduce the corporate tax burden by at least 30 billion euros.

“Another announcement was a reduction in public spending. In addition to the 15 billion euros saved this year, public spending will be cut by 50 billion euros between 2015 and 2017.”