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France's President Francois Hollande (R) shakes hands with a young man after he signed a "jobs of the future" contract at a National Agency for Employment (Pole Emploi) in Chelles, near Paris, Nov 8, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
PARIS - French President Francois Hollande on Thursday signed the first contracts of the government-sponsored jobs for youths, a cornerstone of the Socialists' plan to tackle an alarming unemployment rate.
In a National Agency for Employment's bureau in Chelles, Paris suburbs, Hollande launched "the national fight against unemployment" for which he called on all concerned parties to energize efforts for "the integration of young people which is a national ambition".
"There are moments in the life of a country where everyone has to seize the opportunities," the president addressed the first beneficiaries of the government's jobless-tackling program.
Cornered by record high unemployment, Hollande wants to stimulate job creation through state subsidies, with the "jobs of the future" plan focusing in recruiting the poorly qualified young workers from disadvantaged suburbs and rural areas in mainly public sector.
Aiming at creating 100,000 jobs in the public sector and 50,000 in the private sector by 2014, the government employment scheme will cost 2.3 billion euros ($2.92 billion) to be compensated by removing tax exemptions from taxes on overtime work.