Sarkozy vows to limit job cuts
France will create 100,000 more state-subsidised jobs to protect workers during the financial crisis.
29 October 2008
RETHEL - French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a package of measures on Tuesday to help the unemployed cope with the economic slowdown.
Sarkozy described the measures as the third stage of France's plan to meet the challenge of the credit crunch, after a huge package to recapitalise banks and moves to support small business.
The biggest change announced in his speech, given in the industrial Ardennes region in the northeast of the country, was the creation of 100,000 new state-subsidised posts.
"It's less expensive than having people unemployed indefinitely", he said, vowing to expand the geographical areas covered by a government retraining program to include regions affected by the current downturn.
France planned to increase the number of jobs to 230,000 for which private firms could claim support in 2008 but, following the global financial downturn, will now increase this to 330,000.
Unemployment in France was already at 7.2 percent of the workforce in the second quarter of 2008, before the crisis began, one of the highest levels in Europe.
Sarkozy also announced a plan to merge two state unemployment agencies to create a "one-stop-shop" for those seeking work and those claiming benefits, and an advance on tax credits for those employing domestic servants.
[AFP / Expatica]