President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to stay the course of economic reform in a keynote speech to French business leaders Thursday, promising to free up the labour market, drive down prices for consumers and root out waste in the public sector.
The French leader also repeated his claim to have a say in European monetary policy, and took a swipe at the European single currency, accusing it of pushing up the cost of living.
...."We are lacking one (percentage) point of growth to solve our problems, for the future to become a promise rather than a threat," he told the summer congress of the MEDEF employers' federation.
"That point of growth is not going to come all by itself. I am going to go out and get it," Sarkozy said, arguing that, "If France has less growth than other countries, it is because we work less."
....Sarkozy said he was determined to press ahead with his programme of pro-business economic reforms, saying he would "let no one water down" his promise of a "clean break" with the past.
To tackle unemployment, currently at 8.0 percent, he vowed to further relax rules on the 35-hour working week -- introduced by a Socialist government in 2000 -- to "break with the false idea that to give work to everyone, you have to share the work out."