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News Summary: Doubting French economic plan

The Associated Press

WHAT'S WRONG: France, Europe's second-largest economy, is in recession and grappling with 11 percent unemployment.

GOVERNMENT FIXES: The plan is to make the French economy more competitive globally — especially for manufacturers — by making it easier to fire workers, offering a payroll tax credit and investing in small businesses.

CRITICISM: Economists have praised the labor reforms as a step in the right direction. But mostly they say France's economic plan is all wrong: It is too complicated; it favors a top-down approach to innovation; and it ignores some of the most serious problems plaguing France's economy, such as high labor costs.