01/18/2016 08:08 EST | Updated 01/18/2017 05:12 EST

France Declares Economic Emergency

PARIS — French President Francois Hollande has declared what he called "a state of economic emergency" and says it's time to redefine France's economic and social model.

Hollande laid out a series of proposed economic measures Monday in an annual speech to business leaders to boost long-stagnant French growth and reduce chronic unemployment.

The first measures he proposed are relatively modest, and he said they would not "put into question" the 35-hour workweek. He did not seek to assume any new emergency powers.

francois hollande

Francois Hollande arrives to deliver his speech to present his New Year wishes to Employment and Unions forces at the Economic, Social and Environemental Council in Paris, on January 18, 2016. Hollande pledged Monday to spend more than 2 billion euros on a package of measures to fight the stubbornly high unemployment that has dogged his four years in power. (Getty Images)

Hollande stressed the urgency of updating France's labour-friendly business model in a fast-moving, increasingly globalized and online economy.

The measures included a loosening of some worker-friendly measures to encourage companies to hire, and new training for half a million workers.