Hollande responds to affairs reports

Updated: 2014-01-15 03:09

By Li Xiang in Paris (chinadaily.com.cn)

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Hollande responds to affairs reports

A still image shows French President Francois Hollande responded to question on his alleged affairs with a actress.

In a highly anticipated press conference on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande refused to respond to the question on his alleged affairs with a French actress, saying that private affairs should be handled privately.

"We all go through painful moments and personal ordeals. But private affairs should be dealt in private." Hollande said, responding to a question of whether his partner and political journalist Valerie Trierweiler remains the first lady of France.

It was Hollande's first appearance since the French magazine Closer reported on Friday that the French president is having a secret affair with 41-year-old French actress Julie Gayet. But at the press conference, Hollande did promise to "clear the air" before his state visit to the United States in February.

The alleged affair of Hollande overshadowed the press conference which was planned for the president to explain the socialist government's policies on the country's difficult economic situation.

At the press conference, Hollande pledged to cut 50 billion euros in public spending between 2014 and 2017, noting that it is possible for France to generate savings while preserving the current social welfare.

He also explained in details his government's "responsibility pact", which aims to reduce the burden of the country's businesses by lowering taxes and creating greater flexibility for companies to hire.

Appearing to be more business friendly, Hollande said his government planned to lower welfare payroll charges for companies by 30 billion euros. In return, he hoped that business can start hiring to help bring down France's persistently high unemployment rate of more than 10 percent.