French president calls for competitiveness to promote growth

French president calls for competitiveness to promote growth
# 30 October 2012 03:14 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. French President Francois Hollande on Monday said competitiveness was a prerequisite for economic growth, but should be mobilized by reforms and changes, after a meeting with major international economic organization chiefs in Paris.

The French leader attributed the country’s deteriorating competitiveness to the "lack of political decision," adding that decisions would be "taken in November in all spheres of competitiveness."

"Competitiveness requires reforms and changes which are transparent and understandable to all," Hollande told a press conference at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) headquarters.

The French head of state held talks with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy, International Labour Organisation Director-General Guy Ryder and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria, focusing on discussion about measures to increase growth, jobs and competitiveness.

The French president identified three challenges that France faces: debt "which could become unbearable in the long term," a worrying economic situation particularly marked by rising unemployment, and ways to stimulate French competitiveness.

The Socialist politician reiterated his government’s commitment to address each of these challenges. "We also have to restore our public finances and put them on a healthy base. This was the most urgent task we had to face," Hollande stressed.

The president admitted "because of high unemployment, our productive capacity cannot be entirely efficient."

However, he affirmed that a five-year plan would be introduced to ease the sluggish economy and achieve growth. Hollande said he would propose a "competitiveness pact" to help areas as housing, education, innovation and labor costs.

The pressure has been mounting on the French government in recent days as nearly 100 business leaders called for cutting employer contribution to welfare charges by 30 billion euros (38.7 billions U.S. dollars) in a bid to reduce labor cost which is seen as main obstacle for companies’ falling competitiveness.

The meeting, the first of its kind for the French leader with heads of five major international organizations, came as France struggles with a flagging economy and record unemployment.

Hollande said he hoped the meeting could be held every year.

It is reported that the five international organizations chiefs will travel to Germany on Tuesday to have their annual talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
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