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France president Hollande vows to fight ‘pessimism

President Francois Hollande has vowed to fight French ‘pessimism’ in the face of a struggling economy, acknowledging the country’s rail network needed better maintenance, after a deadly derailment. In an interview with leading television channels to mark Bastille Day, Hollande insisted the recovery had already started. France entered recession this year and has a record-high 3.26 million unemployed. 

Deeply unpopular Hollande defended his first 14 months in office and, as polls show deep gloom among the French, said his goal was to give ‘new confidence’ to the country. ‘For years we have been the most pessimistic country in Europe, in the world even. There are countries at war that are more optimistic than we are’, he told interviewers. Hollande was speaking after attending the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs Elysees. But this year’s holiday was overshadowed by Friday’s rail accident on a regional line near Paris, which claimed six lives. 

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