French President Francois Hollande announced Tuesday that he will move forward with his plans to cut public spending and grant tax breaks to businesses, while accepting the harsh reality of the French people's unhappiness with his failure to deliver on pledges to turn the economy around.
Mr. Hollande made it clear that he regretted not moving faster with some measures and not alerting the French people to the gravity of France's problems. During an hour-long television interview marking the second anniversary of his election, Mr. Hollande said France must act swiftly and cut taxes for businesses in order to boost job growth.
"We must go faster still because it is unbearable for French people," Mr. Hollande said. He also said he has introduced plans to reduce the tax burden for the poorest and will fast-track changes to reduce the size of the local government.
Mr. Hollande came to power in May 2012, while the Eurozone was in crisis. The Eurozone has since headed towards a steady recovery, while France remains unable to grow and unemployment has continued to rise. Tax hikes meant to plug holes in public finances have only increased the anger of the French people.
With his approval ratings at an all-time low and unemployment still on the rise, the president decided to change things up and focus on funding tax breaks for businesses to help them invest and recruit.
Mr. Hollande asked the French people to stand with him during this time of transition. "I'm not a president who should regret. I am the president who should be rebounding, responding and reacting. I've nothing to lose."
Source: Horobin, William, "Hollande Promises to Turn Around French Economy With Tax Cuts," The Wall Street Journal, May 6th, 2014