Reuters International

French President Francois Hollande waits for a guest at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

(reuters_tickers)

PARIS (Reuters) - French people mostly disagree with President Francois Hollande's view that "things are going better" for the country one year away from next year's presidential elections, according to a poll for Metronews and LCI television carried out by OpinionWay.

Participants in the survey were asked if they considered there had been an improvement in terms of growth, France's image in the world, security, employment and education.

For 73 percent of the 960 people interviewed, there had been no improvement in any area, according to OpinionWay. Sixteen percent said they thought growth had improved, while 8 percent considered that security and employment had improved.

Hollande and members of his Socialist government have been at pains in recent weeks to point to an improvement in the situation in France.

The president said in mid-April that "things are going better" as there was more growth, less deficit, more competitiveness, better company margins and more purchasing power for workers.

"The country's doing better, even if things aren't going better for many of our fellow citizens," Hollande said in comments broadcast on France 2 television earlier on Sunday at the annual May 8 celebrations to mark the allied victory over Germany in 1945.

The French economy grew a faster-than-expected 0.5 percent in the first quarter, with the strongest increase in consumer spending since 2004 and a pick-up in business investment, according to figures published by the INSEE national statistics agency on April 29.

European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Sunday that the Commission would probably raise its 1.3 percent growth forecast for France this year.

The Labour Ministry said on April 26 that the number of people registered as out of work in mainland France fell by 60,000 to 3,531,000 in March, down 1.7 percent over one month. Still, this was up 0.5 percent over one year.

Unemployment remains above 10 percent in France, and Hollande has said he would not stand for re-election next year unless he made headway on joblessness. The government has also faced weeks of sometimes violent protests over its plans to reform labour laws to encourage hiring.

The president's approval rating fell two points to an all-time low of 16 percent last week, according to an Elabe poll for Les Echos newspaper and Radio Classique.

"I want the French to be proud of their country, whatever their feelings (may) be regarding (the person) who currently leads them," Hollande said on Sunday.

The OpinionWay survey was carried out by phone on May 3 and May 4, according to the pollster.

reuters_tickers

 Reuters International