14 January 2014 Last updated at 15:01

As it happened: Hollande faces media

Key Points

  • President Hollande has been holding his New Year's news briefing on plans to revive France's economy, but was asked about his private life
  • A celebrity magazine has claimed that he has been having an affair with an actress
  • Mr Hollande said this was a private matter and he would clarify later whether his partner Valerie Trierweiler was still first lady
  • Ms Trierweiler is in hospital after being admitted in a state of shock following the revelation
  • All times in GMT
  1.  
    1500:

    Welcome to the BBC's live coverage of French President Francois Hollande's annual press briefing, where he is due to unveil plans to revive the economy, but is expected to face questions about his private life. Stay with us for the latest updates - reports from our correspondents, analysis and your reaction from around the world. You can contact us via email, text or Twitter.

     
  2.  

    One French journalist tweets a picture of the gathering press inside the Elysee Palace; she says some 600 journalists are attending, including a third from foreign media organisations.

     
  3.  
    Norman Smith

    tweets: "If he can manage it I wd suggest #hollande tries humour. Good way to disarm critics and get some perspective on scooter saga"

     
  4.  
    Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

    tweets: "Inside the Elysee. A packed room of several hundred journalists awaits Pres Hollande. Feeling - this is important moment for him."

     
  5.  
    1515:

    "Grille du Coq", "scooter a trois roues" - these are some of the terms bandied around in connection with the scandal. Read our glossary explaining key terms in l'affaire Gayet.

     
  6.  
    Sarah Atkinson

    tweets: "Anyone else expecting #Hollande to stick his hands in his pockets, look away and smile? Just me? #westwinggeek"

     
  7.  
    Alleged Gayet meeting building

    A picture of the front of the building where President Hollande is alleged to have met French actress Julie Gayet near the Elysee Palace in Paris

     
  8.  
    Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

    tweets: "Speculation here at the Elysee that it has been 'arranged' that one of the first questions will raise Pres Hollande's personal problems."

     
  9.  
    1521:

    Centre-right MP Christian Jacob tells parliament: "The president is not a normal citizen during his term. He is the chief of our armies. He is the keystone of our institutions. His protection should not suffer from any amateurism.''

     
  10.  
    v23id

    tweets to ask: "Hey journos of the world.. When you'll be done wondering about Hollande love affair... Could you bother asking about austerity politics?"

     
  11.  
    Simon Wilson BBC News

    tweets: "#hollande presser imminent. expecting him to speak for 20 mins approx about political plans and then first q likely to be on personal life"

     
  12.  

    A French journalist tweets a picture of Mr Hollande's lectern: "Elysee, lectern with built-in glass of water for dry throat."

     
  13.  
    Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

    tweets: "French ministers take their seats for what could be a decisive two hours for the Hollande presidency."

     
  14.  
    1538:

    President Hollande starts speaking.

     
  15.  
    Elysee room

    The room is packed full of journalists

     
  16.  
    1539:

    Francois Hollande says: "France has lost economic strength over the past 10 years."

     
  17.  
    Christian Fraser BBC News, Paris

    tweets: "OK we're under way. Mr Hollande takes the stand before 500 journalists - he starts with the economy. No prizes for guessing the 1st question"

     
  18.  
    1542:

    President Hollande says France needs to focus on supply-side reforms.

     
  19.  
    Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

    tweets: "Hollande goes straight into economic crisis which he describes as long and profound."

     
  20.  
    1544:

    President Hollande says taxes on companies must be eased and simplified.

     
  21.  
    Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

    tweets: "Hollande speaking about cutting social charges, about productivity and corporate tax. The business community will be listening v closely!"

     
  22.  
    1550:

    The president defends his "responsibility pact", saying it will be negotiated with trade unions and employers' groups. "It is now that France must rebound to forge ahead," he says.

     
  23.  
    1553:

    It is possible to make savings while preserving the country's social model, he says, adding other countries have done so, notably in northern Europe.

     
  24.  
    Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

    tweets: "Hollande talking about a pact of responsibility; lowering social charges for businesses in exchange for hiring. Offers big conference."

     
  25.  
    Junior Sikabwe

    tweets: "#Hollande calls 'responsibility pact' the 'biggest compromise in decades'. Designed to bring everyone together to focus on jobs. #ConfPR"

     
  26.  
    Imelda Flattery BBC News

    tweets: "Hard to find a cafe or bar showing the Hollande Press Conference. I suppose it's not exactly Champions' League."

     
  27.  
    Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

    tweets: "We are listening to a different Pres Hollande - less socialist and more social democrat!"

     
  28.  
    1604:

    Turning to foreign policy, President Hollande says the French intervention in Mali has been a "victory against terrorism".

     
  29.  
    Francois Hollande

    Francois Hollande during his speech

     
  30.  
    Jonathan Rugman, Channel 4 foreign affairs correspondent,

    tweets: "Hollande is talking about croissance (growth) rather than croissants. The foreign hacks want more on the croissants."

     
  31.  
    1610:

    French government to cut public spending by a further 50bn euros (£41bn) over three years, President Hollande announces.

     
  32.  
    1612:

    "I wish for a Franco-German partnership which supports European defence," Mr Hollande says.

     
  33.  
    1616:

    President Hollande now takes questions.

     
  34.  
    1617:

    Alain Barluet, head of the Presidential Press Association, asks the first question.

     
  35.  
    1618:

    Mr Barluet asks about the article about Mr Hollande's alleged affair in the magazine Closer last week.

     
  36.  
    1619:

    "Is Valerie Trierweiler still first lady?" he asks

     
  37.  
    1621:

    Mr Hollande says private matters must be dealt with privately and in a respectful way. He says he will address the issue later.

     
  38.  
    1622:

    He adds that this is not the time or the place to address the allegations.

     
  39.  
    1623:

    He acknowledged he was going through a difficult period in his private life, but did not answer the question as to whether his partner, Valerie Trierweiler, was still France's first lady.

     
  40.  
    1624:

    Mr Hollande said he would answer the question of Ms Trierweiler's status before his planned visit to Washington in February.

     
  41.  
    Carousel Lights

    tweets: "Francois Hollande in press briefing. Asked if the First Lady would remain as such. He wouldn't answer & journos just moved on #NotInTheUK"

     
  42.  
    Paul Anthony Ward

    tweets: "Rather like French respect for people's privacy. Who cares what Hollande does as a private citizen in the privacy of his own bedroom?"

     
  43.  
    Simon Wilson BBC News

    tweets: "French press have been asking questions about President #Hollande's security this week. Will any of them feel it appropriate to raise now?"

     
  44.  
    1643:

    In answer to a question from a journalist about the legal ramifications of the publication of the pictures in Closer, Mr Hollande says he is outraged by the violation of his privacy, but says he will not sue.

     
  45.  
    Anna Rascouët-Paz

    tweets: "Hollande wants us French expats to return to France. Good luck. #ConfPR"

     
  46.  
    Hugh Schofield BBC News, Paris

    says: "Mr Hollande's answer was concise and not especially revealing. Yes, he was going through a difficult moment in his private life. And yes there would be a decision about the status of Valerie Trierweiler in advance of his planned visit to Washington next month. But for the rest, this was a private matter - and therefore he was not ready therefore to say any more. The French press accepts this. It is perhaps to its credit that it agrees that private maters should remain just that."

     
  47.  
    Andrew Walker BBC World Service Economics correspondent

    says: "President Hollande addressed the main areas where business wants to see reform. The recurrent criticism of economic policy in France is that government is too big and the burdens of tax and regulation - especially in the jobs market - are excessive. The impact will depend on how effectively these and other commitments can be implemented."

     
  48.  
    Simon Wilson BBC News

    tweets: "The question about security comes: the French people should have no concern says #Hollande. He can come and go - but always protected"

     
  49.  
    1658: Simon Wilson BBC News

    adds: "Mr Hollande said that like any other private person, he could come and go as he pleased, but always - he insisted - in the presence of a professional presidential security operation."

     
  50.  
    Etienne Bataillé

    tweets: "I get why #Hollande's alleged affair causes scandal and people taking interest but I think Hollande also has the right to a private life"

     
  51.  
    David Rosement

    emails from Scrignac, France: "Nero fiddling whilst the lackeys look on - what a waste of time"

     
  52.  
    1710:

    About 700 youths have left France to fight in Syria, says President Hollande.

     
  53.  
    Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

    tweets: "Hollande: tone combative, indignant over personal revelations, still unclear what economic reforms really add up to."

     
  54.  
    1731:

    Alain Barluet, the journalist who asked Mr Hollande the first question about his alleged affair with Ms Gayet, asks for Albert Londres to forgive him in a tweet, widely retweeted (in French). Londres was a French journalist and writer, and a pioneer of investigative journalism after whom the Prix Albert-Londres journalism award is named.

     
  55.  
    1745:

    Asked about the state of health of Ms Trierweiler, Mr Hollande says she is resting and that he has no further comment to make on the subject.

     
  56.  
    1757:

    Asked about whether the revelation of his affair with Ms Gayet tarnished the image of the French president, Mr Hollande said only that in France, "we have a number of principles which relate to the respect of privacy and also to freedom of the press".

     
  57.  
    1812:

    Mr Hollande ends the briefing.

     
  58.  
    1813:

    That brings to an end our live coverage of French President Francois Hollande's annual press briefing. Please stay with the BBC News website for all the latest updates on world events.

     

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