French President Francois Hollande batted away any questions about an alleged affair with an actress on Tuesday.
The press conference may have been filled with expectant journalists but he doggedly stuck to his mission to unveil policies to help France’s struggling economy.
He did however admit to some difficulties:
“Private matters should be dealt with privately. out of respect for those involved. This is neither the place nor the moment to talk about such things,” he said.
The president quickly returned to his New Year economic message including flagging up his proposed “responsibility pact” with its tax cuts for firms in return for creating more jobs: “In 2014 what is at stake is not simply that France recovers growth, which is already taking shape, it’s that this growth is the most vigorous possible. We will only succeed with the cooperation of everyone, notably private enterprise.”
Before the embarrassing affair allegations, Hollande’s popularity was low largely due to his handling of the recession. Voters wanted and were given a list of new initiatives which may prove more important for many than mere gossip.