France unveils emergency plan for crisis-hit Brittany

16th October 2013, Comments 0 comments

France's Socialist government on Wednesday announced emergency measures to help Brittany, which has been hit by protests over job losses in the struggling food industry.

The move comes after a series of demonstrations in the northwestern region, including a protest by hundreds of workers this week that blocked roads and a runway at Brest airport.

The protests have sparked concern among President Francois Hollande's Socialists, who are floundering in the polls and facing a tough battle in municipal elections next March.

After an emergency meeting in Paris with about a dozen ministers, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced the government was unblocking 15 million euros ($20 million) in funds to help struggling agri-businesses.

"The state is abandoning no one, it is our responsibility to make every effort to preserve jobs and create new opportunities," said Ayrault, who is from the region.

He said local authorities would also take control of the region's Gad slaughterhouse, which has cut nearly 900 of its 1,700 jobs.

Brittany's farming and food industry, which accounts for a third of local jobs, has been badly hit by France's economic crisis.

© 2013 AFP

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