French finance minister slams 'doom-mongers' in FT

LONDON - French finance minister Pierre Moscovici lashed out at "doom-mongers" predicting his country's economic demise, telling Thursday's Financial Times that "one can be French and take fiscal consolidation seriously."

France has reacted with indignation to a series of reports in publications including Newsweek and British business daily City AM that warned the country is on the edge of an economic catastrophe unless President Francoise Hollande implements sweeping reforms to improve competitiveness and reduce the role of government in the economy.

Moscovici used his comment piece in the British business newspaper to say that plans announced by Hollande last week proved that "one can be French and take fiscal consolidation seriously."

"The doom-mongers are wrong: France is modernising and reforming," he added. "They would gladly dismiss, with a stroke of the pen, its history and its culture."

He insisted that it was possible to stick to social democrat values while boosting productivity and that he would resist calls to implement "ready-made solutions".

"France deserves better than being subject to preconceived ideas and French-bashing - it deserves the world's trust," he wrote.

Hollande announced last Tuesday 50 billion euros ($68 billion) in spending cuts between 2015 and 2017, and a 30-billion-euro reduction in corporate payroll charges, but said companies in return must create more jobs.

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