'European Model' Could Die: French PM

'Sluggish growth' may destroy safety net, job security
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 5, 2009 7:40 PM CDT
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon addresses the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) March 23, 2009 in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The prime minister of France, the country perhaps most associated with the cherished "European model" of job security and social safety nets, warned today that it may prove unsustainable because the region's economies are too stagnant. "With this sluggish growth, we cannot preserve the European social model or reduce our public debt," said French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, addressing a high-level gathering of political and business leaders at Italy's Lake Como.

"The level of our structural deficits threatens the long-term survival of our economy," he added. As the worldwide economic downturn continues, France and Germany have recorded a small level of growth—0.3%—in the second quarter this year. But Fillon noted that while forecasts point to 1% growth in the euro zone for 2010, that is half the expected growth in the US and Asia is widely expected to grow at a 4% clip.