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French socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has finally presented the detail of his belt-tightening 2013 budget, designed to provide a deficit reduction of 30 billion euros, which was given a critical reception by both the austerity-rejecting Left and the anti-rich tax Right. Since President François Hollande appointed him as Prime Minister in May, Ayrault, struggling to reach a consensus among his own parliamentary majority, while keen not to alienate the business community, has been slammed in the media for a slowly-slowly approach to decision-making that can’t keep pace with the economic crisis. Dithering or quietly determined, bland or grand? Stéphane Alliès, Lénaïg Bredoux and Mathieu Magnaudeix have been collecting the divided and frank views from inside the corridors of power, including those of ministers and senior advisors.
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