Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Majority of French want more reform: survey

PARIS (Reuters) - Nearly three-quarters of French want President Francois Hollande to push further ahead with economic reforms and are ready to make personal sacrifices as long the pain is fairly distributed, a survey by pollster BVA found on Wednesday.

No fewer than 67 percent of respondents agreed with the statement "if we carry on like this, we are headed for catastrophe" according to results of the telephone and Internet survey of nearly 1,000 people conducted between May 29-30.

The findings cast doubt on a common international perception that the French are unreceptive to change and highlighted what BVA concluded was a "real calling into question" of decades of French political leadership.

A full 80 percent of respondents concurred with the statement that "our leaders have never had the courage to undertake the difficult reforms which our country needs".

The poll found 74 percent were in favor of deeper reforms in the labor market, pensions and unemployment benefits.

The survey was conducted last week just as the European Commission urged France to rein in public spending, cut labor costs and reform its pension system in return for winning two extra years to bring its budget deficit within EU targets.

Hollande, who was elected in May last year, has already implemented some moves to reduce high labor costs and has promised laws setting out a major overhaul of the pension system by the end of this year.

He has argued that his reform record can be judged only over the full course of his five-year term, while critics - notably in Brussels and Germany - want him to step up the pace.

(Reporting by Mark John; editing by David Stamp)


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