French businesses are denouncing excessive taxes and red tape they say are strangling activity in the eurozone’s biggest economy.
On Monday, they took to the streets in the tens of thousands in Paris and the southwestern city of Toulouse, the first in week-long demonstrations ahead of the Dec. 10 unveiling of a law to boost investment and jobs, Reuters reported Tuesday.
Many business owners are skeptical that it will help them and want a drastic reduction in corporate tax rates.
“We are the economy, we are work,” a rally of largely small business owners and traders chanted outside the finance ministry in Paris.
Police put the turnout at 2,200, about half that estimated by the CGPME small business lobby that organised it.
French businesses have some of the narrowest margins in Europe while rigid labor laws are sometimes blamed for discouraging employers to hire extra staff.
Unemployment is rooted above 10 percent and jobless numbers rose in October.
The European Commission has set France a March 2015 deadline to take steps to reform its economy or face fines over its failure to bring its public deficit within European Union limits, the report said.
The government expects to pass the law through parliament by then but the bill faces resistance from some in the ruling Socialist Party and trade unions wary that it will erode labor protections.
French trade unions are known for street protests but it is rare for employer lobbies to take to the streets. One of the last major protests was against the introduction of the 35-hour work week in 2000.
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