Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

French premier confident despite slowing economy

Latest update : 2008-08-18

At a special meeting of six key ministers, French Prime Minister François Fillon said it was "not fair" to talk about an economic recession in France. On Thursday, official figures showed a drop in France's second-quarter growth.

Read analysis by FRANCE 24's Douglas Herbert: "Honey, I shrank the economy"



Paris (AFP) - Prime Minister Francois Fillon on Monday dismissed fears of a looming recession in France and said there was no need for a stimulus package to keep the economy growing.
   
Fillon held a special meeting of six key ministers to consider action after new figures showed a sharp drop in French economic growth in the second quarter.
   
"It is not fair to talk about a recession," Fillon told a news conference following the meeting, adding he was confident France would register positive growth in 2008.
   
"We do not need a stimulus plan which would be an artificial plan," he said.
   
Instead, France needs structural reform to be better equipped to confront pressures from the volatile global economy, he said.
   
The prime minister called for a Europe-wide "coordinated response" to international economic turmoil and suggested this could be discussed at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Nice on September 12 and 13.
   
"We have a common economic space, a common currency," which makes coordination "indispensable," said Fillon.
   
For the first time since 2002, France's gross domestic product (GDP) contracted, by 0.3 percent, in the second quarter, prompting Fillon to summon ministers ahead of a full cabinet meeting on Thursday.
   
Economists say France will be in a full-blown recession if the growth figures continue to drop in the third quarter.
   
Economics Minister Christine Lagarde, Trade Minister Anne-Marie Idrac and four other key government members met Fillon to analyse the causes of the slowdown and identify responses, a statement from the prime minister's office said earlier.
   
The Bank of France meanwhile forecast growth for the third quarter at just 0.1 percent.
   
The government was hoping to achieve growth of between 1.7 percent and 2.0 percent in 2008, despite criticism from economists who say the actual outcome will likely be closer to 1.0 percent.
   
Fillon said the government would revise its growth forecast when it submits its 2009 budget in the coming weeks but that it would stick to the goal of keeping the public deficit at 2.5 percent of GDP in 2008.
   
The Socialist opposition has called on President Nicolas Sarkozy to go back on billions of euros in tax breaks that were doled out in a fiscal stimulus package adopted soon after his election in May 2007.
   
"We are not in a recession but we are feeling the effects of a brutal, difficult crisis", said Socialist Didier Migaud, chairman of the parliamentary finance committee.
   
"The problem is that we have extremely limited room to manoeuvre because we have wasted quite a bit over the past year. So maybe we should have the courage to put the fiscal package back on the table," Migaud said on France Inter radio.
   
Consumer Affairs Minister Luc Chatel separately said the government was committed to reform despite the disappointing growth figures.
   
"This is one more reason to enact reform," said Chatel.
   
While the government wants to cut spending, it will not opt for tough austerity measures because "this would asphyxiate the economy at a time when it frankly doesn't need this," he said.
   
The INSEE statistics office on Thursday said output had recoiled under global pressures in the second quarter, contracting by 0.3 percent.
   
INSEE had previously forecast that the economy would grow 0.2 percent in the second quarter.
   

Date created : 2008-08-18

COMMENT(S)