France makes new effort to encourage hiring
Creating jobs in France is proving harder than expected. The embattled Socialist-led government is making its second push this year to energise the labour market in Europe's second-largest economy, after a top economic official called the previous plan "a failure".
Although President Francois Hollande has made cutting unemployment the cornerstone of his tenure, the jobs market is in fact getting worse. Unemployment climbed to 10.4 percent in the third quarter, despite a package of payroll tax cuts for businesses earlier this year that was meant to encourage hiring.
Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron presented yesterday a new bundle of policies that aim mainly to free up France's notoriously inflexible labour rules and regulations
'Macron's Law', as the bill has been dubbed, has sharply divided Hollande's own Socialist Party, but drawn praise from France's powerful business lobby, Medef.
"Everybody must accept to change what doesn't work, what penalises hiring and economic activity", Prime Minister Manuel Valls told a press conference. "This bill is a proof that our country is able to change without giving up on its social model."
One of the most controversial measures aims at relaxing rules on stores' Sunday and evening opening hours, especially in tourist areas.