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February 24, 2014
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With the New Year came a new Hollande pledging to build a New France. Still, most of the announcements made in January by the French President merely confirmed a prudent policy inflexion which started last year. Hollande is counting on the solemnity of the speech, putting economic reforms more firmly on the French political agenda. But the reforms are likely to be slow, and the transition will be costly in terms of growth. This will weaken France's reserves of political energy for European reform for many years. Actually, the structural hurdles to reform are more firmly entrenched in France than in Germany 10 years ago. Thus the adjustment is likely to be slower to yield any meaningful results on potential growth than in the German experience and a meaningful structural re-convergence of the two countries will be slow. [more]