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MUNICH — The new president of France, be it Nicolas Sarkozy or Segolene Royal, will face a tough challenge when it comes to putting the French economy back on its feet. While the world economy is booming for the fourth consecutive year, with a historically unprecedented growth rate of about 5 percent, the French economy is limping. In 2006, it grew by only 2.2 percent, while growth rates of only 2.1 percent and 1.9 percent can be expected for 2007 and 2008, respectively, according to a recent forecast by the German Economic Research Institutes. This is significantly below the average of the old EU countries for these three years — 2.7 percent, 2.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

France is currently one of Europe’s laggards, only slightly ahead of Italy and Portugal. Even Germany is performing better. With a growth rate of 2.7 percent, the German economy clawed its way back to the average of the old EU countries in 2006, and it can be expected to grow at 2.4 percent in 2007 and 2008, far faster than France.

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