French President Francois Hollande pledged 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in incentives for employers to hire and support for training as high unemployment threatens his bid for a second mandate just over a year from now.
“Faced with an uncertain economy and persistently high unemployment, there is also a need to proclaim a state of economic and social emergency,” Hollande said Monday in Paris. “France needs to improve training and education and the level of skills of its workforce.”
With unemployment at an 18-year high of 10.6 percent, Hollande is under pressure to create jobs. The Socialist president has himself said that he needs to reduce joblessness in order to be re-elected next year.
Measures announced Monday include a 2,000 euro ‘bonus’ for companies with fewer than 250 employees who hire people on 1.3 times the minimum wage or less, as well as 1 billion euros for training unemployed. The funds will be found by finding budget savings elsewhere, Hollande said.