Sarkozy Outlines New Economic Plan

Posted January 29th, 2012 at 5:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Embattled French President Nicolas Sarkozy outlined new economic proposals during a broadcast Sunday that observers say was aimed at boosting his poor standing with voters before the April election.

Mr. Sarkozy has yet to announce his candidacy. But he is widely expected to seek a second six-year term against Socialist Francois Hollande, who leads public opinion polls.

Mr. Sarkozy’s plan calls for an increase in the value-added tax on goods and services, while cutting employers’ payroll contributions. His proposals are meant to address the country’s rampant unemployment with nearly 3 million people out of work.

The French leader also is proposing a tax on financial transactions in France that he wants other European Union nations to adopt.

Mr. Sarkozy’s television appearance comes two weeks after France lost its top triple-A credit rating and a week after Hollande launched his presidential campaign with a speech attacking what he termed “the world of high finance.”

Also Sunday in Athens, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos met with the leaders of the country’s three main political parties. He said there is complete agreement on the austerity measures needed to cut Greece’s debt and save it from bankruptcy.

The deal, along with a debt swap agreement between Greece and its bondholders, would qualify Greece for a new bailout from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

Greece must secure a new $169 billion loan package within the next few weeks to avoid default when those bonds come due in March.