On the cover of the latest Le Parisien magazine, Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg poses before the French flag in a sailor's bateau, wearing a Michel Herbelin watch and holding a Moulinex blender—all made in France. Seeking to preserve and create work in France in the face of a 10 percent jobless rate, Montebourg suggests French consumers forgo cheaper imports and greater product choice if it means more of their countrymen keep their jobs. "My priority is 'Made in France,'?" he said in October. "There's a choice that's more important than any other, and that is to preserve France's industrial base."
The drive is part of President François Hollande's struggle to prevent continued job losses as Europe's second-largest economy slumps, shrinking demand and forcing consumers to tighten their purse strings. Montebourg's pronouncements mark a long tradition of treating the French as citizens first and consumers later.