French President François Hollande vowed to reverse the country's rising unemployment levels in a confident New Year’s address on Monday, saying France would emerge from the financial crisis “sooner and stronger” than expected.
French President François Hollande pledged to reverse the country’s surging unemployment rate as he gave his first New Year’s televised address at the Elysée Palace on Monday.
Speaking of the “serious and legitimate” concerns of the public, Hollande acknowledged the “fits and starts” of his first six months in office, but said France would emerge from the financial crisis “sooner and stronger” than expected because of the course he and his government had taken. “We’ve set the course – jobs, competitiveness and growth – and I will not deviate. It’s the future of France.”
With the number of jobless breaking the three-million barrier for the first time this year, Hollande said “all our efforts will be aimed at a single objective: reversing the unemployment trend within a year, whatever the cost”.
He also promised to tackle what he described as “useless spending” in government. “The French public’s money is hard earned and must be put to the service of a thrifty and exemplary state”.
“Those with more will have to contribute more”
But speaking of his controversial 75% income tax levy, which was overturned by France’s highest legal body on Saturday, the Socialist president said that while the law would be “redesigned” its objective would remain the same. “Those with more will have to contribute more,” he said.
Hollande also stressed the increase in teacher numbers he promised during his election manifesto and touted his delivery of promises to allow 60-year-olds the right to retire if they began working early, along with the return of French combat troops from Afghanistan.
Briefly mentioning the controversial issues of same-sex marriage and euthanasia, Hollande stressed the importance of civil rights. “We have all it takes to succeed,” he said, adding that France is most successful “when it moves forward on equal rights”.
Ending his address with a thought for the “sick, lonely, disabled and unassisted” people in France, the French president said social security was as important as a competitive economy and called for a “collective effort” to make that balance possible.
Date created : 2012-12-31