PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron set out on Thursday an ambitious financial strategy aimed at raising the country’s poorest above the poverty line.
The social policy, which is set to cost some 8.3 billion euros ($9.7 billion) over the next four years, will focus on providing opportunities for children born into poverty, Macron, who campaigned on a centrist ticket, said.
“This isn’t about helping poor people live better in poverty but rather accompany them out of it,” he told a Paris press conference.
The French government has estimated that 8.8 million people live below the poverty line in France, including three million children.
The strategy would include subsidized and free school meals and employment schemes and is set to come into effect in 2018.
Political observers in France suggested Macron was trying to win back the confidence of left-wing parties, which have criticized the president since he pushed for labor reforms and tax cuts.