PARIS (AP) -- French unions and leftist politicians on Friday lambasted President Nicolas Sarkozy's latest proposals to fight the deepening economic crisis, calling his ideas tepid and hesitant.
Sarkozy floated a series of measures on national television Thursday, a week after nationwide strikes crippled France. The proposals included investment stimulus measures, tax cuts, public construction projects, an increase in short-term unemployment benefits and profit sharing.
The measures, which have yet to be adopted and will be discussed shortly with unions, aim to encourage the French to spend more and to counter unemployment, which has crept up to 7.7 percent.
Still, opposition leaders were not impressed.
"I had this very painful impression of a president who does not understand what the French are going through," Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry told RTL radio on Friday. "Does he realize there are French people today who cannot make ends meet?"
Marie-George Buffet, the head of the Communist Party, told Canal Plus television that she thought Sarkozy's TV interview was "lamentable."
Sarkozy announced scrapping the "professional tax," a levy on companies that benefits local and regional budgets which Sarkozy says hurts the competitiveness of French companies. The CGT union criticized that idea, saying it would hurt communities and taxpayers.
"Today, in the short term, what is there concrete for workers? Nothing," Jean-Claude Mailly, secretary general of the Worker's Force union told The Associated Press.
Nationwide strikes last week prompted the 90-minute live interview with four French journalists. University students demonstrated Thursday over layoffs and reforms in higher education and more protests are expected in the next few weeks.
Even Sarkozy's profit-sharing proposal for workers came under fire.
"He was elected by 53 percent of the population, but his concrete measures are only for 7 percent of the privileged population," Olivier Besancenot, leader of France's Revolutionary Communist League.
Jean-Marie Godard in Paris contributed to this report.