French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday he supports reducing government spending and lowering taxes on businesses to kick start a languid labor market.
Hollande, whose personal life grabbed headlines last week after a magazine published a story alleging he's cheating on his girlfriend Valerie Trierweiller, denied the policy shift is in response to criticism of his Socialist party's handling of the economy, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Still, the more conservative approach marks a considerable change from Hollande's previous economic agenda, which largely included raising taxes without much consideration for spending cuts. Included in the package is a proposal previously laid out that would offer a total of 20 billion euros ($27.3 billion) in business tax exemptions to help employers underwrite labor expenses.
Hollande declined to answer questions from reporters about the status of his relationship with Trierweiller, who has been hospitalized since the report came out, the Journal said
"I understand your question, and I am sure you will understand my response. Everyone in personal life goes through ordeals. It's a painful moment. But I have one principle -- private affairs are dealt with privately."