Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

ISRAELI STRIKE TAKES OUT GAZA POWER STATION AND ZHOU FALLS FROM GRACE

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

  • Deadly shelling strikes Gaza UN school

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Europe launches last resupply ship to space station

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fuel fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

France

Economy on centre stage at French Socialist debate

Video by Claire BONNICHON , Stephen Clarke

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-09-16

In a televised debate Thursday, left-wing presidential hopefuls pledged to raise taxes on the rich and honour France’s commitments to economic recovery by reducing the deficit as they vied for support ahead of next month’s primary election.

REUTERS - The leading contenders for the Socialist party’s presidential candidacy pledged on Thursday to raise taxes on the rich and stick to international commitments to reduce France’s deficit if they win next year’s election.

A televised debate between the six hopefuls for the opposition Socialists’ primary next month was dominated by France’s stuttering economic recovery and high unemployment, with proposals ranging from tougher regulation of banks to youth employment schemes.
 
“I do not like outrageous wealth, I do not like indecent remunerations, I do not like selfishness,” said Francois Hollande, the poll favourite to win the party’s nod, pledging to increase taxes on the richest French to help fund proposals such as a rise in education spending.
 
“I will not be the president to grow our debt as Nicolas Sarkozy has done ... Nothing I am proposing would damage our public finances,” said Hollande, saying he would target a balanced budget by 2017.
 
With a poll on Wednesday showing that 56 percent of French voters would like to see the Socialists win April’s presidential election, the party’s economic policy could become a decisive element in Europe’s debt crisis next year.
 
Hollande held a commanding lead according to Wednesday’s IFOP survey, with 60 percent, well ahead of his main rival Martine Aubry with 35 percent.    
 
With unemployment running at more than 9 percent and many households experiencing a fall in their purchasing power, the economy is expected to play a central role in next year’s vote.
 
President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government announced last month a package of austerity measures designed to ensure France’s meets an EU commitment to cut its deficit below 3 percent of economic output by 2013, from around 7 percent last year.
 
“We must respect our promises to cut the deficit below 3 percent by 2013...but we cannot just have the objective of reducing the deficit, because that would hit growth,” Aubry said, pledging to eliminate 50 billion euros a year in tax exemptions. “My priorities are employment, employment, employment.”
 
With polls showing most French want to exit nuclear power following the incident at Japan’s Fukushima reactor this year, most candidates pledged to scale back France’s reliance on the sector, which provides three-quarters of the country’s power.
 
Several candidates were also strongly critical of the financial sector’s role in triggering the financial crisis, and called for tougher rules on banks and bankers.
 
“We should make the rich obey the law like everyone else,” said Segolene Royal, who unsuccessfully ran against Sarkozy in 2007 as the Socialist party candidate. “As long as the banks command and we obey, then we will not emerge from the crisis.”
 
Royal, seen as unlikely to win the candidacy for a second time, pledged to ban banks from speculating on national debt and oblige them to lend a specific amount of their deposits to small businesses.
 

 

Date created : 2011-09-16

  • FRANCE

    Far-right targets 2012 presidential vote at Nice rally

    Read more

  • FRENCH POLITICS

    Sarkozy's scattered forces close ranks in Marseille

    Read more

  • POLITICS

    Strauss-Kahn homecoming puts Socialists in a muddle

    Read more

COMMENT(S)