French business want candidates to go for growth

20th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 20, 2007 (AFP) - France's largest business lobby called on the country's presidential candidates on Tuesday to present bold measures to boost economic expansion, saying a target of 4.0 percent growth by late 2012 was attainable.

PARIS, March 20, 2007 (AFP) - France's largest business lobby called on the country's presidential candidates on Tuesday to present bold measures to boost economic expansion, saying a target of 4.0 percent growth by late 2012 was attainable.

"We consider that we can strive for four percent growth and we are proposing that it be a goal for the end of the five-year term," said Laurence Parisot, president of the MEDEF (Movement of French Entreprises) group.

With one month to go before the first round of voting, Parisot took aim at frontrunners Nicolas Sarkozy, the candidate of the rightwing governing party, and Socialist rival Segolene Royal for presenting election programmes that factor in growth projections of between 2.0 to 2.5 percent in 2007.

Parisot said the candidates were relying too heavily on consumer demand to stimulate growth and should instead look at supply by encouraging businesses to produce.

"There must be a change in focus," she told a news conference, adding that candidates needed to be less "fearful" and "definitely more ambitious" in their proposals on economic growth.

The MEDEF called for more state support for research and development in industry and measures to help small and medium-sized businesses.

It also said that boosting exports and increasing the number of hours worked would help bolster growth.

The MEDEF has repeatedly called for scrapping the 35-hour workweek that was adopted in 2000 under the former Socialist government of Lionel Jospin.

The French economy grew by 2.0 percent in 2006, according to the INSEE statistics institute.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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