Business, Economics and Jobs

Hollande says he will fix French economy in two years

France's Socialist President François Hollande announced Sunday that he would cure country's static economy in 2 years.

"I am in a battle and will not look back," he said. "I am setting up a calendar ... two years to create a policy for work and competitiveness. I am accelerating."

In the speech he sketched out new austerity measures. One, a controversial tax on the country's wealthiest, has caused (as expected) a bit of an uproar. Bernard Arnault, France's richest man, said he would apply for citizenship with Belgium to escape tax payments.

According to Reuters, Hollande's first hurdle "will be to find 30 billion euros ($38.40 billion) in savings in the 2013 budget."

Hollande was confident despite the government lowering its growth forecast. "Growth has been shrinking for several months," he said. "We will be just over zero percent in 2012 ... so I have asked the government to base the predictions on realistic forecasts. It will be inferior to 1 percent, probably 0.8 percent.

The Wall Street Journal provided political and economic context for Hollande's speech: