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France has no time to lose

Staff writer |
The European Commission told France it had no time to lose in pushing ahead with reforms after the nomination of a new government following a row over economic policy.

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It is crucial that France's new government "maintain its reform commitments, which are essential for France to sustainably relaunch growth and employment," said Simon O'Connor, spokesman for Economic Affairs Commissioner Jyrki Katainen, at a news conference.

French President Francois Hollande reshuffled his government on Monday after the then Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg strongly denounced France's adoption of EU-backed austerity policies which he said were mandated by Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany.

The firebrand Montebourg has been replaced by the pro-reform Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker whose nomination has angered the French left.

France has already indicated that it will again struggle to meet the EU's strict deficit requirements, rules that Montebourg blamed for France's inability to achieve growth and create jobs.

O'Connor said the priority for France "was the respect of structural reform commitments. There is no time to lose," he said.

Analysts on financial markets say that investors are taking the view that France remains committed to reforms to help businesses and to reduce public spending.

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