francuska  Francois Hollande.jpg
Photograph: EPA/MICHEL EULER / POOL MAXPPP OUT

French President Francois Hollande unveiled Monday a series of plans to kickstart his country's struggling economy, including 2-billion-euro (2.18-billion-dollar) proposal to train people for jobs and fight unemployment.

In a wide-ranging speech, Hollande said the country had to keep up with a "world changing at vertiginous speed," announcing plans to train half a million workers and create incentives for small businesses that hire young or unemployed workers.

Promoting apprenticeships and reviewing rules to encourage access for entrepreneurs were also part of Hollande's plans, which left intact some of the central aspects of the French labour market. The president said specifically that changes would not impact the 35-hour work week.

France has struggled to combat unemployment levels that hover around 10 per cent, and are even higher among young people.

"We want to see the youth be able to enter into this apprenticeship plan, and that employers can boost the acceptance of these youth," Hollande said.

With slightly more than a year left before general elections in France, Hollande has faced criticism for not doing enough to bring the economy out of the doldrums.

Some observers have said his Socialist party's chance of clinching a victory in 2017 are largely dependent on their proving adept at reviving economic growth.

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