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A Year of Reckoning for France and Europe

PARIS – France is at a crossroads. It has numerous valuable assets, but it cannot postpone long-overdue reforms, or else it will become increasingly irrelevant in a fiercely competitive global economy. This is the economic challenge that President François Hollande, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, and all of us in the French government must confront.

We face a historic responsibility: we need to modernize the French economy, and introduce in a few months a decade’s worth of reforms to generate stronger, more inclusive growth, create more jobs, and shrink public deficits. This is precisely what the government has been doing since the election earlier this year; indeed, no French government has ever carried out so many reforms in such a short period of time.

France’s economic performance has been lackluster during the past ten years, particularly with respect to competitiveness, debt sustainability, public spending, and the labor market. Our responsibility is to ensure that we are doing better in each of these areas by 2017, when the current electoral term expires.

To meet this challenge, we have designed an economic strategy that rests on three pillars: Europe, fiscal consolidation, and competitiveness.