With only months before the election date in April, Sarkozy outlined a series of reforms, gambling that this would demonstrate an ability to take unpopular decisions when necessary.
He stood by his plans for a tax on financial transactions, and promised a raft of measures designed to try to keep jobs in France and reduce unemployment, currently at a 12-year high of almost 3 millon.
He stopped short of making the long-awaited formal declaration of his candidacy for re election though he made it clear he would stand and was “very determined”. He insisted he was as yet too busy being president to start campaigning.
French presidential elections 2012 - Latest Opinion polls - First round
Many in Sarkozy’s own camp are impatient for him to make an official declaration and get on with the business of campaigning, amid fears that his Socialist challenger François Hollande is dominating the political scene and gathering momentum.
An opinion poll this week said Hollande would take 56 per cent of the votes in the second round of the election in May, with Sarkozy scoring 44 per cent.