French competitiveness commission starts work

Two former French prime ministers, Michel Rocard and Alain Juppe, have been tapped to head a commission looking at financing ways to boost France’s long term competitiveness.

The commission will decide how much money is needed and how it should be spent. The cash will be raised through a national loan.

President Nicolas Sarkozy said: “This loan is intended to finance strategic priorities for the future, not to address everyday demands, even if they are legitimate, which should be dealt with in the national annual budget.”

The commission is to include scientists and economists and will suggest strategic sectors to invest in such as technology and infrastructure projects.

The loan will be raised early next year with bonds sold to the general public or professional investors.

Sarkozy said one aim of the project is to safeguard jobs in the euro zone’s second largest economy.

Shortly after he spoke the latest unemployment figures were released. They showed the number of people out of work in France rose by 10,700 in July, a 0.4 percent increase on June. The jobless total is now 25.6 percent up on July last year at 2,535,200.


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