A SENIOR French official yesterday said the government was committed to pushing through reforms to modernise the economy, despite protests.
“These are reforms that have long been deemed necessary in France, but that had so far not been implemented,” Cyril Blondel, spokesman for the French Embassy in London told City A.M. France is often criticised for its lack of ability to reform.
“The fact that the current government is pushing for all these reforms at the same time is a sign of its commitment to the modernisation of the French economy.” Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Paris to voice their anger at the policies when they were announced last week. The new rules will go to parliament at the end of January.
Protesters claim the new policies go against the values of the governing Socialist party.
The policies were put forward by French economy minister Emmanuel Macron, who is an ex-banker more pro-business than the rest of his party.
It is hoped he can turn around the fortunes of French President Francois Hollande, whose ratings have dropped to record lows in opinion polls.
French businesses are losing weekend shoppers to London and online sales. The same concern is being voiced by German businesses. Reform is normally more difficult in France where unions have much more power than in Germany.
Meanwhile, Germany has led the way in the 21st century in terms of economic reform. But it seems attempts to persuade German officials to allow shops to open on Sundays are in vain.
Two weeks ago Frankfurt – Germany’s financial capital – was prevented from letting a range of businesses open on Sundays. Reasons range from the religious to the rights of workers to have a day off.