France's finance minister, Pierre Moscovici, has called on his country's business community to be conscious of the need for reform, and has attacked what he described as "French-bashing."
Talking to CNBC, Moscovici asked for the business community to be "conscious that we need to reform this country; that the government is at work to do so; and that we need some national unity in order to build a stronger France".
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He added, "We are a strong country. We are a strong economy. We are the fifth-largest economy in the world; the second-largest economy in Europe. We need to be proud of it. I'm against any kind of French-bashing. I really fight that. I also think that we need to respect each other."
Many in France's business community believe that President Francois Hollande and Moscovici are taking too long to initiate reforms, and are creating an atmosphere of economic uncertainty.
Moscovici words on Monday came after a meeting in Aix-en-Provence of France's Cercle des Economistes, at which Pierre-Andre de Chalendar, the chief executive of Saint-Gobain (a leading manufacturing company), said Hollande was pursuing "zigzag" policies.
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Moscovici also noted on Monday that the Bank of France had just upped its outlook for the French economy in the second quarter. It now forecasts France grew by 0.2 percent, rather than 0.1 percent.
"We are making...huge reforms," Moscovici said. "We are reforming our economy in order to strengthen the competitiveness, and to help firms to invest, and to hire, and to grow. We are also reforming the labor market… We are also consolidating our public finances."