The French Finance Minster, M. Vilery Giscard d'Estaing, told an emergency session of the National?
LV Seine and Eiffel Tower
GV National Assembly building
SV People queue for public gallery
SV President takes seat and ministers entering
SV D'Estaing talking to others
SV Foreign Minster Jobert
SV President and Messmer talking
SV People in public gallery
SV PAN FROM Messmer in seat to D'Estaing
GV National Assembly
Initials BB/0324 NPJ/TB/BB/0334
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Background: The French Finance Minster, M. Vilery Giscard d'Estaing, told an emergency session of the National Assembly in Paris on Tuesday (22 January), the European economic and monetary union remained France's basic objective. The Assembly had been called into session to discuss the country's new monetary policy following the floating of the French franc.
M. d'Estaing announced that the Government would call off the European Economic Community conference in July to re-establish the Community's drive to achieve monetary unity. It would come at the end of the six-month period during which the franc will be allowed to float.
Before M. d'Estaing spoke, the Prime Minister, M. Pierre Messmer, had told the Assembly that France had not intended to compromise the Common Market by the decision to float the franc which had been announced on Saturday. M. Messmer said that France was like a "wily sailor" steering through the troubled seas of the international economic situation. "Prudence and efficiency" he said, "demand that you change sail before the storm and not during it".
M d'Estaing said that the quadrupling of international oil prices was the chief factor in the decision to float the franc. The country imports 75 percent of its energy resources, a higher proportion than most other leading western nations.
While the Assembly was in session, the Bank of France intervened for the second day running to stop the franc sliding further than intended on the Foreign Exchange Market. On top of the hundred million dollars (GBP 40 million approx.) it sold on Monday in support of the French currency, the Bank sold another estimated thirty million dollars (GBP 12 million) to keep the franc steady at a depreciation level of about 4.5 per cent.