Related News

Home » World

Sarkozy facing a grilling on economy

FRENCH President Nicolas Sarkozy faced a grilling on national television over his handling of the economy following nationwide strikes sparked by fears of job layoffs.

Polls released yesterday showed that confidence in the energetic Sarkozy is falling amid frustration over job cuts and taxpayer concern that money used to bail out the financial sector is lining executive pockets.

Nationwide strikes and protests last week focused on fears over rising unemployment and the government is worried that the one-day action could turn into a broader and protracted walkout.

Protests disrupted several French universities yesterday. Unions have called for layoffs to stop in the public sector and demanded that the government ensure struggling businesses provide better social protections before they are given bailout cash.

"There are worries in our country. I will have the occasion to respond to them," Sarkozy said on Tuesday.

He said he would not bow to "immobility," a term he has used to refer to the heavy state handouts and high taxes that he says held back France's economy during periods of growth in neighboring countries such as Britain.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon said this week that the protests would not lead to a reversal in French economic policy. But even before the recent strikes, major reforms appeared to have been put on hold while the government finds ways to save major industries from collapse.

Fillon, the man in charge of the government's 26 billion euro (US$33.4 billion) economic stimulus plan, says French economic growth is expected to be close to zero this year, though others say even that is optimistic. Unemployment is up to 7.7 percent after years of steady decline. The worsening employment outlook has pushed down consumer spending, once the driver of France's economy.

A poll published in the daily Le Parisien yesterday showed 39 percent of respondents expressing confidence in Sarkozy, down from 44 percent a month earlier. Confidence in Prime Minister Francois Fillon dropped from 43 percent to 40 percent.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend