French president to address nation about economic crisis

Business Materials 5 February 2009 14:55 (UTC +04:00)

One week after a general strike and nationwide demonstrations to protest his government's economic policies, French President Nicolas Sarkozy will appear on national television late Thursday to defend his economic stimulus plans, reported dpa.

The success of the January 29 strike and demonstrations, in which up to two and a half million people took to the streets, has added urgency to his television appearance, which will be in the form of an interview.

Trade union leaders have demanded that Sarkozy abandon his ambitious economic reform program and do more to protect jobs and increase purchasing power, or they will call for more strikes and street demonstrations.

Surveys show that the popularity Sarkozy gained through his energetic performance as president of the European Union in the second half of 2008 is being eroded by France's deteriorating economy.

In addition, according to a recent poll, nearly two out of three French adults believe the government's measures to fight the economic crisis are not working.

Sarkozy is not expected to announce new economic measures during his television appearance. Instead, he is likely to explain why the government took the measures it did and to declare again that he and his government will not abandon the planned economic reforms.