President Valery Siscard D'Estaing launched a new-style in French Presidential press conferences on Thursday (25 July).
President Valery Siscard D'Estaing launched a new-style in French Presidential press conferences on Thursday (25 July). It was more relaxed and free-wheeling along American lines.
Much of the pomp and circumstance that surrounded the pross conferences of President Charles do Gaulle and -- to a lesser extent, his successor, Goorges Pompidou -- was absent.
President Giscard stood for 90 minutes before 350 newsmen in the Salle des Fetes reception room of the Elysee Palace. The press conference was televises live -- another departure from past practice.
This is the first time President Giscard has faced the press since he took office two months ago. The conference was limited to domestic issues only at the President's request. He said that foreign-policy questions would be handled at his next press conference in the autumn.
President Giscard's first meeting with the press produced no startling announcements and little hard news. He re-affirmed his intention to end French nuclear tests in the atmosphere this year and expressed optimism that his Government would win its fight against inflation. He also promised to give a new style to the Presidency, as he said, "to dust off France's institutions."
He said his Government was giving no thought to a wage-and-price freeze and believed the measures already taken were sufficient. "We cannot allow prices to continue rising at 14 or 15 per cent a year" he said. But he noted the rate of increase was already slowing. The French Government's target is to cut inflation to abut six per cent by the middle of next year.
President Giscard said in two months he has brought about considerable social, economic and political changes. But he said there were so many things to change that it would be better to judge his Government on its first 500 days in office, rather than its first 100 days.