The man charged with reviving France’s shrinking economy and attracting businesses to invest here is gaining a reputation for doing the opposite.
As the country’s first-ever minister for industrial renewal, Arnaud Montebourg has told the world’s largest steelmaker it is not welcome in France; exchanged angry letters with the head of an American tire company he was supposedly wooing; and scuttled Yahoo’s offer to buy the majority of a video-sharing website.
Montebourg, a 50-year-old lawyer from Burgundy, is the public face of President Francois Hollande’s plan to revitalize Europe’s second-largest economy, which is in recession and grappling with 11 percent unemployment. The plan is to make the French economy more competitive globally _ especially for manufacturers _ by making it easier to fire workers, offering a payroll tax credit and investing in small businesses.
Economists have praised the labor reforms as a step in the right direction. But mostly they say France’s economic plan is all wrong: It is too complicated; it favors a top-down approach to innovation; and it ignores some of the most serious problems plaguing France’s economy, such as high labor costs.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor
Euro area GDP down by 0.2% and EU27 down by 0.1% and -1.0% and -0.7% respectively compared with the first quarter of 2012 GDP fell by 0.2% in the euro area1 (EA17) and by 0.1% in the EU271 during the first quarter of 2013, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates2 published by Eurostat, … Continue reading »
An overwhelming majority of French people believe President Francois Hollande’s government will fail to reduce record high unemployment this year, a poll showed on Friday. The government is clinging to the Socialist leader’s pledge to revert a relentless unemployment rise even as data showed on Thursday that more people were jobless than any time on … Continue reading »
When she embarked on a university degree at 18, Caroline never imagined she would still be living like a student a decade later, unable to land a permanent job and stuck in a cramped spare room in her father’s flat. An engaging 27-year-old with a literature degree and a masters in communications, she is one … Continue reading »
Unemployment in France shot up by 43,000 in January. That brings the total number of unemployed to 3.16 million, just shy of the 3.19 million record set in 1997. After he was elected, the administration of socialist President Francois Hollande decided to raise taxes rather than cut spending. Rates on the wealthy were raised to … Continue reading »
France’s government was plunged into an embarrassing row yesterday after a minister said the country was ‘totally bankrupt’. Employment secretary Michel Sapin said cuts were needed to put the damaged economy back on track. ‘There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state,’ he said. ‘That is why we had to put a … Continue reading »