Jan. 16 - French President Sarkozy says the latest S&P downgrade of France's prized triple-A rating will not affect economic reform. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy played down the impact of France losing its triple-A credit rating with Standard and Poor's, saying the move would not derail France's plans for reform. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY, SAYING: "In France and I suppose in Spain, it's not the rating agencies that should define the economic policies. On Friday an agency took away France's AAA, on Monday an agency confirmed its AAA, two agencies out of three. These decisions must be reacted to with calmness and reserve. My deep belief is that it does not change anything. We must reduce the deficit, we must reduce our spending and we must improve the competitiveness of our economy to resume our way on the path to growth. This is what we have to do." At a news conference in Spain he said governments should not be defined by ratings. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY, SAYING: " The economic policy of a great country should not be define by this procedures and It is not my intention to bring into account what ones and others say. I must worry about the real economy. To much deficit, too much spending without enough growth. Those are the real problems of the euro zone." With an election looming, Sarkozy says he would announce reforms at the end of the month and that he intends to implement them rapidly following talks with union leaders this week. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters