France's economic growth is picking up and should be slightly over 1.0 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2016, but it remains too slow to reduce unemployment, President Francois Hollande said Monday.
"Growth is increasing, not enough yet, but we will definitely have a little more than one percent growth this year," Hollande told a press conference, adding: "It is still insufficient to bring down unemployment this year."
For 2016, he said there was a "reasonable goal" of 1.5 percent.
"We can eventually do more but I must make sure that the forecasts correspond to what can be a realistic estimate," he said.
The French economy stalled in the second quarter of this year, after expanding by 0.7 percent in the previous three months. Still the forecast for annual growth remains 0.8 percent in 2015 even if there is zero expansion in the next two quarters.
With the jobless rate currently at 10 percent in the eurozone's second largest economy, Hollande has staked his political future on reducing unemployment before running for re-election in 2017.
"What I've said -- for more than a year now -- is that if there is a drop in unemployment I would expect to present my candidacy to the French people, it's an obligation, I was going to say nearly a moral obligation" to reduce joblessness, he told journalists.
On another labour issue the Socialist president insisted that the country's 35-hour work week would remain in effect for the next five years.
"The legal duration of the work week will not change," Hollande said.
He noted however that some businesses were holding negotiations on the issue, but that they would take place "in the context of the laws which apply to everyone and the fundamental guarantees", he said.