French economy fails to grow in Q2 but government determined to 'stay the course'



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PARIS — Official figures show France's economy failed to grow in the second quarter, though the government is still aiming for 1 percent growth this year as it struggles to emerge from years of stagnation.

Though the second-quarter growth rate was slightly lower than anticipated in financial markets, the first quarter figure was revised up by the state statistics agency to 0.7 percent.

Finance Minister Michel Sapin suggested Friday on France-Inter radio that the flat growth in the second quarter wouldn't derail the Socialist government's policies, saying, "we have to stay the course."

President Francois Hollande's administration has loosened some labor protections and launched investment plans to boost growth, but that has not dramatically improved France's competitiveness, and unemployment remains above 10 percent.

Exports have grown, though, thanks to the weak euro.

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