Chirac plans Tax Incentives to Keep Jobs in France Dec 31, 2005 21:47:53 GMT -5
Post by Moses on Dec 31, 2005 21:47:53 GMT -5
Chirac Plans Tax Incentives to Keep Jobs in France in 2006
Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- French President Jacques Chirac said he will introduce tax incentives to dissuade companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co. from cutting jobs in France or moving production to countries with laxer labor laws.
``Our system of corporate taxes must favor companies which employ in France,'' he said in his annual New Year's televised address broadcast on TF1 and other major networks. ``Today, the more a company fires workers and the more it shifts production abroad the less (taxes) it pays.''
Chirac gave no specifics for his plans, which follow a failed attempt to enlist the European Commission in a legal challenge to the Hewlett-Packard job cuts. His speech echoed calls by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin for ``economic patriotism.''
``We have to find again our mobilizing force and the profoundly modern sense of the word ``patriotism,''' Chirac said. ``Love your country, be proud of her, act for her.''
Hewlett-Packard announced Sept. 12 that it plans to fire a quarter of its French workforce, or 1,240 positions, embarrassing the government after repeated promises to lessen jobless queues. Chirac vowed to make employment his government's No. 1 priority in his New Year's address of 2003.
The Palo Alto, California-based company's announcement came after joblessness climbed as high as 10.2 percent in May. Since Chirac's re-election in 2002, the jobless rate has hovered around 10 percent, denting his popularity. In November, it fell to 9.6 percent.
Chirac pointed in his speech to ``successes'' such as the launch of Airbus SAS A380 cargo jets, the world's largest passenger plane, and the Aug. 11 launch by France-based Arianespace of the world's biggest communications satellite, Shin Satellite Pcl's $405 million Ipstar orbiter.
In France, third-quarter growth accelerated to 0.7 percent from 0.1 percent in the second quarter.
This year has been difficult for Chirac, 73, who voters rebuffed in May by rejecting a European Union constitution he had endorsed in a referendum. His credibility was sapped further in November, when more than 10,000 cars and 200 buildings were torched or damaged during three weeks of violence in poor neighborhoods marked with large immigrant communities and youth unemployment of more than 30 percent.
Fight Against Delinquency
``2005 has seen tensions and questions being expressed across our country,'' Chirac said. ``The `no' in the referendum and the crisis in the suburbs bear witness to this.''
In a response to the November riots, Chirac pledged tonight to ``intensify the fight against delinquency and violence'' as well helping French people from disadvantaged backgrounds ``be able to progress and succeed without being held back by barriers of caste or privilege.''
Thirty-three percent of the 978 people surveyed Dec. 15 through Dec. 17 said Chirac should resign before his term runs out in May 2007, a BVA poll for L'Express magazine showed. In a separate poll conducted Dec. 7-Dec. 8 by CSA, only one percent of respondents voted for Chirac as their preferred candidate to represent the Union for a Popular Movement Party at the next elections.
In the CSA poll, 38 percent named Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy as their preferred UMP candidate in 2007, and 41 percent opted for de Villepin, appointed May 31 by Chirac to restore confidence after the EU treaty setback.
Chirac's authority is being challenged within his own camp by Sarkozy, who plans to announce his candidacy for the 2007 presidential election at the end of 2006.
Chirac also said French authorities are ``fully mobilized'' to secure the freedom of French citizen Bernard Planche, who was kidnapped in Baghdad on Dec 5. An insurgent group in Iraq threatened to kill him if France didn't ``end its illegitimate presence in Iraq,'' Agence France-Presse reported on Dec. 28, citing a video broadcast by Al-Arabiya television.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Emma Vandore in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: December 31, 2005 16:17 EST