France

Hollande admits failure to bring down French unemployment

French President François Hollande at Istanbul's Galatasaray University
French President François Hollande at Istanbul's Galatasaray University Reuters/Osman Orsal

French President François Hollande has admitted he has failed to deliver on his promise to reverse the rise in France's unemployment figures. During a visit to Turkey Hollande insisted that his Responsibility Pact with French business will put the economy back on the rails.

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Throughout 2013 Hollande had promised that by the end of the year, the trend of rising unemployment would be "reversed" but figures released this week showed that did not happen.

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The number of unemployed rose 10,200 in December, bringing the total number of unemployed in France to 3.3 million.

Speaking during a state visit to Turkey, Hollande said that, while the unemployment rate has not been going down, it is not growing as much as it did earlier in the year.

But, he addedd, France needs growth and that is what his new economic plan aims to create.

"Without strong growth, there can be no reduction of unemployment," the president said. "Stabilising, which is what we managed to do, is not enough. The only thing we can conclude from this is that the Responsibility Pact is more than ever an obligation that the government is fully committed to. And it calls for the participation of all actors."

Hollande introduced the Responsibility Pact, which involved cuts in social security contributions for companies that hire employees, at the beginning of this year.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Monday launched negotiations with trade unions on the details of this plan.

Soem trade unionisists have accused Hollande and the Socialist government of selling out to big business.

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