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France declares ‘economic’ state of emergency, but 35-hour work week stays

President Francois Hollande pledged today to redefine France's business model to boost stagnant growth and reduce chronic unemployment, but measures won’t include a longer work week.

PARIS — French President Francois Hollande pledged Monday to redefine France’s business model and declared what he called “a state of economic and social emergency,” unveiling a 2-billion-euro ($2.2 billion) plan to revive hiring and catch up with a fast-moving world economy.

The measures he proposed, however, are relatively modest, and he said they would not “put into question” the 35-hour workweek. With his country under a state of emergency since extremist attacks in November, Hollande did not seek to assume any new emergency powers over the economy.

In an annual speech to business leaders, Hollande laid out plans for training half a million jobless workers, greater use of apprenticeships, and aid for companies that hire young workers.

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