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Government action

Published on April 7, 2014
Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, during the Council of Ministers’ meeting

Paris, April 4, 2014

You are France’s new government.

You are thus in charge of its destiny.

You have an especially heavy responsibility given that, in the local elections, the French expressed dissatisfaction and concern and, most importantly, demanded results in the local elections. You have a duty to succeed.

I want to begin by paying tribute to Jean-Marc Ayrault for the determined, brave action he has led for nearly two years.

He has worked tirelessly to bring about our country’s recovery, in particularly tough economic circumstances. The many reforms engaged by his government have profoundly modernized our country and time will be their judge. They’re taking time to yield results. We have to move faster.

Moreover, this is a lesson I’m taking on board: moving even faster is less a case of legislating than of swiftly addressing French people’s expectations. Doing things more simply to change our fellow citizens’ lives in a more concrete way. More simply and differently.

This is why I and the Prime Minister wanted to form a smaller team. Sixteen ministers, with due regard for the principles of parity. This is completely new under the Fifth Republic. It’s a fighting team.

Fighting against what? Fatalism, resignation and the mistrust of institutions.

Above all, fighting for. For our future, for hope and for confidence in our destiny.

Because we’re fighting an economic battle which compels us, if we want to win, to be more competitive, more mutually supportive and more innovative.

The government won’t win it alone. It will have to involve Parliament but also social partners and the whole of our country.

The government will above all have to conquer what is most difficult to face up to: doubt – which has too great a hold on our fellow citizens – as regards government action and, at times, the functioning of our institutions.

The moral crisis isn’t only a threat to national cohesion – which is serious –, it’s a major obstacle to our economic recovery.

The main condition of success is restoring confidence: in state intervention, in our economy’s resources, in skills and our companies, in our employees’ expertise and our young people’s vitality.

To achieve this, the French must understand the point of the efforts we’re asking them to make – for years they’ve been called on to make sacrifices without seeing anything come of it –, otherwise they’ll see it as a series of pointless sacrifices, spent energy and wasted resources.
In the next three years, France must achieve three goals.

The first is sustainable growth: this means strengthening our economy and its attractiveness – in other words, all the production and service capabilities. The challenge is greater competitiveness and more investment for more jobs.

That’s the aim of the Responsibility Pact: fewer taxes on companies and, in exchange, more recruitment. This pact is ready. Consultation has taken place with the employers and unions. It will be presented to Parliament next week in the general policy statement, for implementation next year.

But at the same time, the government must act to address the demand for social justice. That’s the solidarity pact. Its first pillar is education and training for young people. The second is welfare, with the national health strategy. And the third is spending power, with a scheduled reduction in taxes, particularly on labour.

Finally, the government will have to embark on the energy transition, an environmental, economic and social challenge which can make the crisis productive and redistribute spending power and which will call for choices in our modes of transport, consumption and production.

In order to succeed, we must carry out further in-depth reforms. That’s the purpose of the savings programme I’ve announced: savings not for their own sake but to transform the state’s organization and make it more effective and therefore more solid. It’s about changing the organization of our regions, through a new stage of decentralization, and making our social system fairer and simpler, to avoid beneficiaries being unable even to obtain their entitlements.

The government also has to protect French people. That’s the purpose of our foreign and national defence policy, our commitment to fighting terrorism and our decisions on security and justice, and particularly the fight against reoffending.

The French are demanding reassurance. That’s how they will regain confidence.

It’s confidence that the government must seek to establish, in the interest of the Republic.

It will come if French people are convinced that the government is doing everything, and I mean everything:

to free up the energy of companies, regions, youth and the forces of creativity;

doing everything, and I mean everything, to promote France, its products, culture, way of life and values;

everything, and I mean everything, to prepare the future through research, technologies and major investments.

I have this confidence in the team you form. You’re going to ask the National Assembly for this confidence, and I have no doubt it will grant it to you.

We must, you must deserve this confidence in French people’s eyes./.

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