French president Nicolas Sarkozy told the country’s voters last night that he will reduce payroll taxes paid by businesses and increase the value-added-tax paid by consumers in an effort to keep France competitive in global trade. He has suggested changes to French labor contracts that would eliminate the 35-hour work week, and give employers more control over workers’ hours and pay.
These proposals were made as Sarkozy continues to battle against his more left-leaning rival in the election due later this spring. French voters have swung their support to the Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande.
But Sarkozy has one strong supporter who will hit the campaign trail on his behalf — German Chancellor Angela Merkel. All of Sarkozy’s recent proprosals mirror those adopted by Germany over the past half-dozen years. Merkel’s assistance may only make Sarkozy’s election chances dimmer. The combined force of Sarkozy’s policy proposals and Merkel’s support may send Sarkozy on vacation early this year.