French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici insisted on Monday that a keenly-awaited report on how to make the economy more competitive would not be buried, but underscored that it was normal for the government to determine its own approach to the delicate issue.
"It is logical that the government have its own approach, in support of and in addition to the Gallois report," to be in a position to "make its own judgement and take decisions" on how to support growth of the French economy, Moscovici told media in Paris.
He spoke following a cabinet meeting and a Saturday report in the daily Le Figaro that said a government-ordered study by former EADS chairman Louis Gallois to be unveiled on November 5 would urge that social charges paid by companies be cut by 30 billion euros ($39 billion) in the next two to three years.
Financing France's social programmes could then be transferred to sales or income taxes, though that would be a highly controversial decision by the Socialist government.
Gallois has sparked union outrage by saying that France needed a competivity "shock" to turn its economy around.
Moscovici said Monday that "there has been work ... to define what could be, what must be ... a path towards increased competivity, not just in a year but throughout the full (five year) mandate," of Socialist President Francois Hollande.
The government of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has focused so far on factors that "exclude costs" such as the economy's capacity to innovate, the real or perceived quality of its products, its education system and research.
On Friday, government ministers are to take up the question of how to bring costs to a level that makes France better able to compete with other countries.
Moscovici rejected any intention to bury the Gallois report, which the government itself commissioned, saying: "It is a valuable study, it is a useful study. It is a study that we will build on."
The finance minister said that decisions would be made "very quickly, because there is no question of dragging our heels," but did not give a firm timeframe.