This content is not available in your region

The next French president's tough task: fixing the economy

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews
The next French president's tough task: fixing the economy

<p>Francois Hollande staked his presidency on a promise to revive growth and cut unemployment. Five years later, he’s become the most unpopular leader in France’s postwar history, and the first not to seek a second mandate.</p> <p>He leaves plenty of work to whoever will succeed him next spring.</p> <p>Hollande’s key pledge was to create jobs. When he took office in 2012, the national unemployment rate stood at 9.3 percent. Now it’s 9.7 percent.</p> <p>The lack of progress has deeply frustrated – even alienated – voters.</p> <p>Earlier this year, a labour reform making it easier for companies to adjust working hours and lay off staff sparked months of protests.</p> <h3>Ever-changing tax code, sluggish growth</h3> <p>Another ground for frustration is taxation.</p> <p>France has the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Tax_revenue_statistics">biggest tax burden in Europe</a>, at almost 48 percent of <span class="caps">GDP</span>. Experts say streamlining the ever-changing tax code should now be a priority.</p> <p>Hollande hiked taxes on households by more than 50 billion euros. He later rolled out 40 billion worth of tax breaks – but for businesses, angering many among the Left.</p> <p>Hollande can claim some success <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=tec00115&plugin=1">halting the economy’s decline</a> since the 2008 crisis. Still, it’s only forecast to grow 1.4 percent this year – far from the 2.5 percent aimed for at the start of his term.</p> <p>Not impressive to most voters. Most say the economy will play a key role in the upcoming presidential election.</p>