Macron tells young jobseeker: 'I can find you a job by crossing the road'

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President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with a visitor at the Elysee Palace in Paris, 15 September 2018.Image source, EPA
Image caption,
President Macron's efforts to change France's labour laws have met resistance

French President Emmanuel Macron has told a young unemployed gardener that there are lots of employers seeking staff.

"I can find you a job just by crossing the road," said Mr Macron, after the man brought up his concerns during a street encounter in Paris.

The jobseeker replied that employers did not respond to his applications.

France has an unemployment rate of about 10%, which is above the European average.

Mr Macron has responded by trying to make it easier for businesses to hire and fire staff and he has cut back the state sector, but he has faced protests.

On Sunday, the French president was taking part in a cultural event when his exchange with the gardener was caught on camera.

"If you are ready and motivated, in hotels, cafes and construction, everywhere I go people say to me that they are looking for staff," Mr Macron added.

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Mr Macron initially asked if the man had registered as a jobseeker.

"Yes but there's nothing," said the man.

"I'm sending all the CVs and letters of motivation but it doesn't lead anywhere. I've sent them to all the town halls but they won't take them," he added, quoted by Le Figaro newspaper.

Mr Macron pursued his point however, insisting that he was "sure" that some of the cafes in the Montparnasse area needed staff, Le Parisien newspaper reported.

"Frankly I'm sure that one in two of them are recruiting at the moment. Get going!" he said.

Unemployment in France is higher than in the Netherlands, where it is just above 5%, or Germany, where it is below 4%. The figure for the UK is 4%.

About three million people are looking for work. Youth unemployment is particularly bad, with about one in four under-25s out of work.

Media caption,

Souvenirs celebrating the French presidency go on sale