Valls Outlines Month-by-Month Agenda to Revive French Economy

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls unveiled a month-by-month map of measures that he said are designed to aid the nation’s ailing economy.

Valls will revise the costly unemployment-benefit system in July 2016 and make the entire state’s billing system paperless in the first quarter of 2017, according to a document published today in Paris. Just before the May 2017 presidential election, he will pick the final projects for a 47 billion-euro ($59 billion) investment program.

The 21-page “Agenda of Reforms” comes a day after the European Commission said France must step up efforts to revamp its labor and tax systems to spur economic growth and create jobs. It’s the second time this week Valls has announced new measures to boost growth after he said on Dec. 10 the government will ease firing rules and allow Sunday openings for shops.

“The world changes,” Valls in the document. “It’s not waiting for us. France must be in phase with this new movement.”

The agenda includes the Dec. 10 proposals, which will be debated in parliament early next year. With the economy forecast to expand less than 0.5 percent for a third year, the European Commission said Nov. 28 that it will give President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government until March to make good on changes it’s promised to boost growth potential and reduce its budget deficit. It set a similar timetable for Italy.

That largess was granted on condition the governments in Paris and Rome use the time to enact further legislation in pursuit of economic competitiveness.

France’s Finance Ministry said yesterday that the budget deficit will narrow to 2.7 percent of gross domestic product in 2017 from 4.1 percent of GDP this year.

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