French President promises hundreds of millions for French press

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday proposed a series of measures intended to bring the country's newspapers out of their economic crisis, reported dpa

According to an estimate by the daily Le Figaro, the measures will cost some 600 million euros (770 million dollars).

"The press was already in a crisis before the (economic) crisis, Sarkozy told representatives of the sector in his annual post-New Year's address to the press. "For 2009, the economic situation for the press has collapsed."

The measures he proposed include the postponement for one year of a planned increase of newspaper mailing costs, a reduction of social charges paid by newspapers for their employees and the granting of free newspaper subscriptions to young adults on their 18th birthday, a measure that will be subsidized by the government.

Sarkozy also pushed for the modernization of the system of printing the papers, in order to lower the cost by 30 to 40 per cent.

According to the French president, to print 30,000 copies of the English-language daily The International Herald Tribune in Frankfurt, Germany, costs 1,661 euros, in Spain the cost is 2,334 euros but in France it costs 3,854 euros. dpa sm sc

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