President Sarkozy?

STUART ISETT FOR TIME

PARRY AND THRUST: Sarkozy fencing with TIME

When he took charge of the Finance Ministry in April, Nicolas Sarkozy had one goal: to kick-start the stalled French economy. Boosting consumer spending seemed an obvious place to start. But Sarkozy, as always, was in a hurry: instead of spending months trying to push through a complex legislative fix, he leaned on France's leading supermarket chains to lower their prices by as much as 2-3% on hundreds of brand-name goods. The result: a mini-spending spree that contributed to estimated growth of more than 2% this year, compared with 0.5% in 2003. Publicizing the agreement, Sarkozy told the press it was...

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