France’s job czar embarrassed Socialist Party President Francois Hollande with weekend claims the country is “totally bankrupt,” according to various media.
But now French politicos are fighting back, calling Labor Minister Michel Sapin’s depiction of the nation’s fiscal health as inappropriate, and untrue.
“France is a truly solvent country, France is a truly credible country,” said Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, in a BBC report.
Mr. Sapin made his bankruptcy remarks during a Jan. 27 radio address, during which he spoke of the need for an austerity plan.
“It is a totally bankrupt state,” Mr. Sapin said then, according to a report in The Independent. “That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective.”
His statements reportedly sent shockwaves through the business community.
And on Tuesday, government officials were scrambling to give the public assurance of a solvent national economy.
Meanwhile, union members from several companies gathered outside Mr. Sapin’s office, Bloomberg News reported, in protest of job cuts that have led to the highest level of unemployment claims in France in 15 years.
This is the latest in a line of fiscal headaches for the nation.
Mr. Hollande’s hefty tax policies targeting the wealthy to the tune of a 75 percent rate have led to one very public backlash: Hollywood actor and Frenchman Gerard Depardieu announced he was leaving the nation due to the untenable rate.
And Nicolas Sarkozy, former France president, is rumored to be considering a move to London for similar economic reasons, according to The Independent.