Hollande’s TV bid to boost support hit by gloomy data on French deficit and debt
Friday 29 March 2013
The French economic landscape darkened today despite a solemn pledge by President François Hollande to restore dynamism and job creation by the end of the year.
Official figures showed that France had exceeded its EU deficit target for last year and that overall state debt had reached a new high.
The statistics were published the day after President Hollande, pictured, made a live “crisis” pledge on television that his policies would restore growth and halt the relentless rise in unemployment by the beginning of 2014.
In a combative but technocratic performance in a 75-minute TV interview, Mr Hollande promised to slash the bureaucracy of the French state, to cut spending and to freeze most taxes. However, in an attempt to head off growing anger on the Left, he resurrected in a complex new form his plan for a 75 per cent on income over €1m.
President Hollande’s original campaign pledge for a two-year super-tax on the super-rich has been rejected as unconstitutional by two state watchdogs. Instead, companies will be ordered to pay – for two years only – a 75 per cent penalty on all salaries over €1m. The aim, Mr Hollande said, was to discourage firms from paying indecently high salaries to a privileged minority while the great mass of the French middle and working classes are suffering.
Mr Hollande’s TV interview – watched by eight million people – was an attempt to respond to collapsing poll ratings and accusations by both Right and Left that he has lacked dynamism and leadership in his 10 months in the Elysée Palace.
On France 2 television, Mr Hollande insisted that his “tool-box” of policies, including a job-creation scheme for the young and a union-employers deal to make French labour law more flexible, would begin to produce results by the end of the year. “I am not waiting for growth,” he said. “I am creating it.”
Reaction to his performance was muted. Even sympathisers said he had failed to give an increasingly anxious nation a sense of purpose and direction.
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
South Korea ferry disaster: Released transcripts show chaos and confusion in the moments before ferry sinks
Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
South Korea ferry disaster: Families watch as remains of Sewol victims returned to shore
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Abdullah Deghayes: My son was the martyr of a just cause, says father of British teenager killed in Syria conflict
Ukraine crisis: Helicopter gunships take country closer to all-out war
- 1 Chelsea 1 Sunderland 2: Graceless reaction of Jose Mourinho a sad effort to hide his own flaws
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...
£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...