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François Hollande press conference: Live blog

François Hollande during his press conference at the Elysee Palace.
François Hollande during his press conference at the Elysee Palace. Reuters/Benoit Tessier
6 min

The French President, François Hollande, is giving an important press conference about his future plans for France. Follow RFI English's live blog for the latest updates.

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18h41: Thank you for following this live feed of François Hollande's major press conference. A summary of the major developments will appear on our website very soon.

18h40: Conference ends. "We'll either meet on the street, or in six months," Hollande said.

18h39: Hollande says Mali is committed to holding elections on 31 July, despite continued instibility in northern Mali. 

18h24: Hollande thanks African countries for assisting in France's intervention in Mali.

18h11: On Syria: Hollande said he suggested to Russian President Vladimir Putin to support a conference in Geneva with members of Bashar al-Assad's regime and the Syrian opposition. Putin said he supported the idea. However, Hollande said: "At the same time the Russians supported the idea of this conference, it continues to send weapons to Assad's regime."

18h06: Journalist asks why Hollande doesn't write in the first person on his twitter feed, like British PM David Cameron and the Pope. Hollande's first reaction after a long pause: "What a question." 

17h59: On Paris Saint-Germain celebrations that turned violent in Paris on Monday: "What happened at the Trocadéro palace was unacceptable and inadmissible." However, Hollande said the police should not be blamed for poor security. "It's a specific problem with the club. It's not the first time". 

17h55: Hollande notes that France's growth over the past two quarters was -0.2%, leading France into recession. But Germany's growth slide from 0.6% two quarters ago to 0.1% in the last quarter. "Therefore," Hollande says, "Germany is in more of a recession than we are."

17h51: Insists France and German Chancellor Angela Merkel must find concensus for Eurozone crisis.

17h40: Q: Will you run for the presidency in 2017? Hollande's answer: I've been in the job for a year with a popularity at the zenith. I'm not really thinking about 2017.

17h36: Hollande asks citizens in French overseas territories to also be patient; show patience for his economic and social plans.

17h34: Hollande recognises that France's poor economy is even more pronounced in France's overseas territories, such as New Caledonia.

17h28: Earlier, Hollande said a bill to allow foreigners the right to vote in France will be presented to parliament after municipal elections in 2014.

17h24: Hollande defends possible reform to retirement. Says he will not be the president that makes young people fund older generations' retirement.

17h20: "What's important now is how the country will be after this term," Holland urges.

17h19: Hollande recognises the opinion poll numbers are very bad for him, but: "I ask not to be judged by opinion polls, but to be judged by what I achieve after five years [his current term]."

17h15: Journalist asks Hollande why he is the country's most unpopular president. He says when he became president, "I wasn't searching to be popular".

17h10: French journalists on Twitter noted that Hollande noted France will see no economic growth in 2013, even though the government announced projections of 0.1% growth.

17h08: Hollande asks: "If you [journalists] have any other questions about whether I've taken decisions, go ahead and ask". LOTS of hands go up.

17h06: Questioned on public sentiment that he is meandering and fails to make concrete decisions, Hollande says: "I always make decisions. I have been making decisions since the first day." Highlights decision to intervene in Mali; troop pullout in Afghanistan.

17h04: Hollande doesn't answer question directly. Focuses instead on his commitment to encouraging growth rather than austerity, and commitment to reducing unemployment and increasing French people's purchasing ower.

17h01: Journalist asks: "At the last conference [six months ago] you promised 0.8% growth this year...now we're in recession. Did you make a mistake?"

16h57: Hollande defends himself as a socialist, a "social democrat" but argues that he is committed to seeing French companies return to competitiveness, taking Germany's economy as an example. "I want my country to succeed…I want companies to be competitive," he said.

16h52: Questions from journalists begin.

16h51: "France is not the problem. France is the solution".

16h49: Hollande expresses condolences for children who witnessed a man committing suicide at a nursery school in Paris. 

16h39: Hollande outlines plans to get more unemployed people and lowly-qualified workers into further education. Will involve discussions with regional departments and Pôle Emploi, the state employment agency.

16h34: Hollande promises to half the number of school leavers without qualifications by the end of his five-year term.

16h33: Major words repeated by Hollande so far: employment, youth, growth, future.

16h31: Hollande calls on PM Jean-Marc Ayrault to present by June a 10-year plan on developing four major sectors in France: the digital economy, renewable energy, health and transport infrastructure.

16h29: Hollande says he is taking "risks" but also "responsibility" to make sure rising unemployment is reversed by the end of the year. Adds he is preparing for the country's future.

16h25: Hollande outlines plans for further integration with the European Union. They include: 6 million euros for youth employment; a "European energy community" focused on developing renewable energy; and further steps for bugetary integration in the zone.

16h20: Hollande says his first year as president has been "entirely dedicated" to preserving France's soverenty, the economy, the socialsystem, and combatting injustice.

16h13: "What's hitting Europe now is not the financial crisis, but recession".

16h11: Hollande thanks PM Jean-Marc Ayrault and rest of the government for getting an extra two years to lower its budget defecit to below 3 percent of GDP as mandated by the European Union.

16h10: Hollande begins by talking about Mali donor conference in Brussels yesterday. The intervention highlighed "France's major role" in Africa.

16h08: Hollande takes the podium.

16h06: French ministers are entering the conference room at the Elyséé Palace. Arrivals include Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, and Interior minister Manuel Valls.

16h04: France's economy is expected to be a major issue for Hollande to answer. As of yesterday, France is officially in recession. Unemployment is at record highs, and public satisfaction for Hollande is at record lows.

16h00: Waiting for François Hollande to arrive for the conference, which is set to start any minute now. 400 journalists as well as numerous French MPs are at the conference.

15h55: When he assumed the presidency, François Hollande promised to give a major news conference every six months. Hollande will outline his future for France amid continuing poor economic performance and widespread dissatisfaction with Hollande, who is the most unpopular French president in recent history.

15h54: You can also watch the conference LIVE via French public broadcaster France 2 (in French)

15h53 Paris time: Welcome to RFI English's live blog on François Hollande's press conference. Remember to refresh this page regularly for the latest updates.

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