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Sapin Says French Companies Need Room to Adjust to Shocks

French Labor Minister Michel Sapin said he wants to revamp regulation to help companies cope with economic shocks.

France needs rules that “allow companies to adapt,” Sapin told Bloomberg Television today in Jouy-en-Josas, near Paris. It’s about the “ability of companies to adapt to a changing world, changing technology and economic shocks.”

The remarks suggest that President Francois Hollande’s government is looking for ways to make France’s workforce more flexible in order to revive the economy following three straight quarters without growth. Sapin, who said he’s discussing that adaptability with companies, gave the interview at a meeting of business leaders organized by MEDEF, the main business lobby.

The government is also aiming to implement any tax increases needed to balance the budget in 2013 so that the burden is shared between consumers and businesses without driving investment abroad.

“It needs to be done intelligently,” Sapin said, echoing comments made by Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici. Asked in an interview with the Les Echos newspaper about the government’s plans to tax earnings above 1 million euros ($1.3 million) at a rate of 75 percent, Moscovici said the levy needs to be designed carefully.

“This tax needs to be intelligent,” he said. “We don’t want to create an exodus of executives.”

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