Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron came under fire today over his policy on jobless benefits after a press leak pointed to plans to tighten monitoring of people on the dole.
The investigative weekly Canard Enchaine, citing an internal memo, said those receiving jobless benefits would be required to submit a monthly report on their job-hunting efforts.
Politicians both to the left and the right of the centrist president assailed the idea of a monthly reporting requirement, with the Socialist Party tweeting that it was first mooted by the head of the employers’ federation, Pierre Gattaz.
But Macron defended the plan in an interview with French radio LCI.
“If there are no rules, things cannot move ahead. That doesn’t mean that we’ll chase everyone,” the 40-year-old said Wednesday evening.
Macron, elected in May on a pro-business platform, included a pledge to overhaul unemployment insurance — along with his landmark labour reforms — with a view to reining in unemployment.
Employers regularly point to the unemployment benefit system, seen as among Europe’s most generous, as one of the main reasons for France’s chronically high joblessness.
Some five weeks of negotiations on the sensitive issue are set to begin on January 11.
Alexis Corbiere of the radical left France Unbowed party told news channel BFMTV: “All this bureaucracy around unemployment has only one goal: to strike people (off the rolls) and then be able to say, ‘Look, thanks to us unemployment is down’.