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HIGHLIGHTS-French Prime Minister Philippe's key comments to lawmakers
July 4, 2017 / 1:28 PM / 3 months ago

HIGHLIGHTS-French Prime Minister Philippe's key comments to lawmakers

PARIS, July 4 (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe addressed the lower house of parliament on Tuesday, delivering a keynote speech which laid out the government’s general policies.

Here are some of the highlights of his speech:

ON GOVERNMENT‘S MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT:

“The government majority is clear, but it is not a blank cheque.”

“In 2017, the French people told us that they wanted how France once again finds itself: confident, courageous and conquering.”

JUDICIAL REFORMS:

* Constitutional reform to strengthen independence of magistrates

* Five-year plan to simplify and re-organise justice system

* Construction of 15,000 extra prison spaces

“It is essential not to transform prisons into the breeding grounds of the violence of tomorrow, and it is essential because it is our dignity that is at stake.”

HEALTH:

“Prevention will be the pivot of our national strategy in the autumn.”

* Vaccinations for young children will become compulsory by next year.

* Price of a packet of cigarettes will go up gradually to 10 euros, government will fight again illegal cigarette smuggling

* Disability allowance to increase in 2018

LOCAL GOVERNMENT:

“We are proposing a local government pact to accompany the ecological transition and to accompany the digital transition, notably to guarantee access to high-speed internet by 2022.”

MILITARY/SECURITY

“We will give the (military) the means to defend us.”

“We will fight terrorism with the great firmness.”

* Five-year military programme to be adopted in 2018 confirming that defence will make up 2 percent of GDP by 2015.

* Will leave state of emergency by latest Nov. 1 and a new law will be put in place to strengthen anti-terrorism arsenal.

ASYLUM/IMMIGRATION:

“France has been incapable of meeting its legal and moral obligations.”

* Average time to process asylum requests will fall from 14 months to 6 months.

EDUCATION:

“All the studies show that we train the very good students extremely well, but inequalities are being reinforced, and the average level of our students is not up to what our country should offer.”

* Complete review of the baccalaureat by 2018, with a view to implementing a reform for 2021.

FRENCH SOCIAL MODEL:

“So that the system is more fair and transparent so that one euros worth of contributions, leads to the same rights for everybody.”

* Draft law to be presented by Spring 2018 to reform professional training, opening up unemployment insurance to those who resign and independent workers.

* Review of the retirement system by end 2018.

PUBLIC SPENDING/RISING PUBLIC DEBT:

“We are dancing on a volcano that is rumbling louder and louder.”

“The French are hooked on public spending. Like all addictions it doesn’t solve any of the problems it is meant to ease. And like all addictions it requires willing and courage to detox.”

* Budget deficit to be below 3 pct of GDP in 2017 from 3.4 pct in 2016

* French tax burden to be cut by 1 percentage point of GDP over the next 5 years

*Public spending to be cut by three percentage points of GDP over next 5 years

* Social security budget to balanced by 2020

MAKING FRANCE AN ATTRACTIVE BUSINESS VENUE:

“Companies must want to set themselves up and develop on our soil rather than elsewhere.”

* Corporate tax to be gradually cut to 25 pct from 33.3 pct by 2022

* Transformation of “CICE” company tax credit to permanent cut in payroll charges to take effect on Jan 1, 2019

* Exemption of non-housing wealth from special wealth tax to take effect in 2019

BREXIT:

“Conducting orderly negotiations over the United Kingdom’s exit will be a pre-requisite for the future relationship’s framework.”

* Any talks with Britain over its future relationship with the European Union would come only after “orderly” talks over its exit from the bloc have been conducted

ENERGY/CLIMATE CHANGE:

“Those who, through selfishness or a lack of conscience, turn their backs on the Paris climate change agreement, show more than just a simple misunderstanding of the world that is coming. It shows that at the heart of things, they are scared of the future.”

“The ostrich is without doubt a nice animal, but putting your head in the sand has never prepared a person to face the future.”

* Will bring taxes on diesel in line with those on gasoline by the end of five-year mandate

* No new hydrocarbons permits

* Carbon tax efforts to be accelerated (Reporting by John Irish, Michel Rose, Ingrid Melander; Editing by Richard Lough and Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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