PRESIDENT Sarkozy has promised a year of "useful" reforms in 2011, with tax and dependency arrangements among the key areas to be reviewed this year.
More than 10 million people tuned in to the president's traditional televised New Year's Eve address, in which he outlined his plans for the coming 12 months.
"2012 will be an important electoral year, but 2011 must be a useful year," he said.
Top of the agenda is the issue of dependency - how to fund the future care needs of an ageing population. Sarkozy said the government had a duty to "protect the most fragile people in France".
Also coming up this year is a major reform of taxation, in an attempt to bring it closer into line with the German system.
Sarkozy did not go into any further detail about the reform, but it is expected to include a review of the bouclier fiscal tax cap, wealth and capital gains tax.
The new year also sees the introduction of a new law banning the burqa in public places. It is due to come into force this spring and Sarkozy said he would apply it "to the letter".
The president also renewed his commitment to the euro, adding: "Do not believe those who suggest that we leave the euro. The isolation of France would be madness. The end of the euro would be the end of Europe."
What's new in 2011?
The new year brings with it a large number of changes, affecting money, property, health and many other areas of living in France. Our January issue, out now, explains everything you need to know about what's new in 2011. Find your nearest stockist here.