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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 February, 2005, 13:44 GMT
France to privatise energy firms
Logo of Gaz de France, EDF and Areva.
The government plans to open about 30% of its public energy firms.
The French government has announced plans to partially privatise three major energy firms and a road operator.

Shares of Gaz de France (GDF), nuclear group Areva and Electricite de France (EDF) will be floated between the summer and end of this year.

Finance minister Herve Gaymard has also announced that road operator SANEF will be partially privatised by April 2005.

The government expects to raise 20bn euros ($25.5bn; 13.7bn), but the plan also provoked protests among workers.

In fact, workers have been protesting for several months against economic reforms, pay and job cuts, and plans to relax the rules on the country's 35-hour working week.

Power workers were staging a 24-hour strike this Tuesday.

Tax cut

Herve Gaymard, France's Finance Minister.
Mr Gaymard outlined the economic policy until 2007.
Mr Gaymard made clear in a press conference that his government will go ahead with its reform plans despite the protests.

Outlining the economic policy until the elections in 2007, he has also announced tax cuts over the next two years.

The cuts aim to fulfil a promise made by President Jacques Chirac in 2002 to cut income tax by 30%.

"We are going to continue this effort for the benefit of our citizens," said Mr Gaymard.

"I want to increase the government's options concerning the reduction of income tax in 2006 and 2007."


SEE ALSO:
Q&A: French working hours
01 Feb 05 |  Business
Raffarin to reform 35-hour week
09 Dec 04 |  Europe
Q&A: What's behind French strikes?
18 Jan 05 |  Business


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