Francois Hollande
French president Francois HollandeScreengrab

French President Francois Hollande has dodged a question on his alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet saying that "private matters should be treated in private".

To a journalist who asked if Valérie Trierweiler was still the First Lady, Hollande replied:

"This is neither the time nor the moment to do this."

"Everyone in their personal life can encounter difficulties," Hollande contined. "They are tough moments. But I have one principle: private matters should be treated in private."

However, Hollande hinted that he would reply to the question lately, perhaps before his planned visit to the United States next month.

Valérie Trierweiler Julie Gayet
France's first lady Valérie Trierweiler and actress Julie GayetReuters

Pact of responsibility

The president outlined plans to tackle low growth and unemployment in his televised address.

"I want to get French society going," Hollande said. "If France wants to retain its influence in the world, stay at the heart of Europe, assure its destiny, it has to recover its economic strength which it has lost over the past 10 years."

Hollande proposed a pact with business in four parts to tackle France's main problem: production.

- Reduce the burden on businesses. Reduce social charges by 30bn euros by 2017.

- Give companies more visibility and transparency.

- Simplification

- Companies will be followed closely in training, hiring and salaries.

"The 'pacte de responsabilite' is an opportunity," Hollande said.

Only one question on the affair was allowed.

Hollande's press conference to outline new plans for the economy was overshadowed by recent allegations that he was having an affair with film actress Julie Gayet.

Hollande did not deny the report but said that his privacy had been breached.

His partner, the first lady Valérie Trierweiler – a former journalist – remains at the Paris hospital where she was admitted "for rest and some tests" after Closer magazine printed photos purportedly showing the president and the Gayet arriving separately at the same time at a flat not far from the Elysee.

The president outlined plans to tackle low growth and unemployment in his televised address.

He will give more details on a proposed "responsibility pact" which would introduce tax cuts for firms in exchange for a commitment to hire more workers.