French PM pledges ‘no halt to reforms’ despite criticism  

Paris, June 7 (IANS) French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Saturday pledged, despite criticism, to push forward the government’s economic and labour reforms, media reported on Sunday.

At the 77th edition of the ruling Socialist Party’s congress, Valls pledged “no halt to reforms to further boost growth and to create more jobs”, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Reduce unemployment is the president’s commitment. It’s our promise and what the French waiting for and we’ll keep it. There will be no breaks. We have to build more competitive France,” Valls said.

“Our policy is to give new strength to companies because they create wealth and therefore employment.”

In the battle to bring down jobless claims, the government tried to stimulate hiring by offering companies a 30 billion euros ($33 bn) cut in payroll charges, improving training, facilitating recruitment rules and pumping millions of euros to finance jobs contracts in the public sector.

With the controversial “Law on Growth and Activity”, the ruling Socialists want to inject new blood into the domestic anemic economy by letting shops open up to 12 Sundays a year from the current five, with more flexibility on opening hours in tourist zones.

They also eye to open long-distance bus routes and closed professions such as notaries to greater competition, a proposal that triggered notarial lawyers’ demonstration.

The opposition conservatives, centrists and even several lawmakers from the the Socialist camp have accused the government of being too pro-business and and harm France’s social model.


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