France's Fillon looks to Germany for reform model

14th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

14 September 2007, PARIS (AFP) - French Prime Minister Francois Fillon called for France to follow the lead of its neighbour Germany in carrying out far-reaching structural reforms, in an article to be published on Friday.


14 September 2007

PARIS (AFP) - French Prime Minister Francois Fillon called for France to follow the lead of its neighbour Germany in carrying out far-reaching structural reforms, in an article to be published on Friday.

"As Germany has done these past years, we need to look further ahead, to aim higher," Fillon wrote in an article for Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and France's Le Figaro newspaper.

"This is not about the current economic situation at the end of 2007. This is about the country's structural situation following the fundamental reforms we will have carried out over five years and which we are only just beginning."

"We need to do so without harming our public finances, and with respect for our European commitments," wrote the prime minister, who is Friday to address a meeting of French and German business leaders in the Alpine resort of Evian.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed to jolt France into faster growth with a raft of economic reforms, but the new government faces a darker-than-expected economic outlook four months after coming to power.

The European Commission forecast this week that the French economy, the second biggest in the eurozone, would grow only 1.9 percent this year, down from a May estimate of 2.4 percent.

The figures were bad news for the rightwing government which is banking on stronger growth to finance a 13.6-billion-euro (19-billion-dollar) package of tax breaks adopted by parliament in July.

The French government has shrugged off the lower forecasts, but economists say weak growth could leave Sarkozy with less room to manoeuvre as he moves on to the second phase of his reform programme.

AFP

Subject: French news

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