In his traditional New Year’s Eve message, President Francois Hollande came out fighting acknowledging that 2014 had been a hard year for France.
In a nine-minute televised address to the nation, Mr Hollande took a strong tone as he insisted that the country was ready for change.
“This is a message of confidence and determination that I address you tonight,” he said, before defending a series of controversial reforms – including the Responsibility Pact, which comes into force today, the 1st January, territorial changes, and economic reforms.
He admitted the difficulties his government and the country had faced in 2014, but defended the decisions he had made and said that he stood his ground and “firmly followed the course that I set”.
“2015 should be a year of courage, action and solidarity. We must go forward, be bold, and refuse the status quo,” he declared.
He welcomed the territorial reforms that will come into force this year, which will see the number of regions in France cut from 22 to 13.
Mr Hollande went on to describe the economic reforms included in the so-called Macron law as “a facelift for our society”. The law, named after France’s economic minister Emmanuel Macron, includes relaxing a ban on Sunday store openings and deregulating certain professions, such as Notaires.
President Hollande was also looking forward to 2015, when Paris will host the UN climate conference. He said: “We must lead the world and adopt a declaration on the responsibility of humanity to protect the planet. I will do everything to make the conference a success.”