Don't bring your mobiles to meetings, French President tells Cabinet

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls (left) and French President Francois Hollande leaving the Elysee Palace in Paris after the weekly cabinet meeting on March 19, 2014. Keen to ensure his ministers are paying attention, French President Francois Ho
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls (left) and French President Francois Hollande leaving the Elysee Palace in Paris after the weekly cabinet meeting on March 19, 2014. Keen to ensure his ministers are paying attention, French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, imposed a strict ban on mobile telephones during cabinet sessions. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Keen to ensure his ministers are paying attention, French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday imposed a strict ban on mobile telephones during cabinet sessions.

Ministers will now be forced to leave their portable devices at the door when they join the French government's weekly cabinet meeting, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll told reporters.

"To focus on what we must do, the president has decided that there will be no more mobile phones in cabinet," Mr Le Foll said.

"Each of us will now have to talk and listen to what is said and will no longer be able to tap away at this magnificent tool," he said.

Asked if Mr Hollande himself had handed in his phone, Mr Le Foll said: "I didn't go and check."

Mr Hollande, whose government is deeply unpopular as he struggles to revive France's stagnant economy, last week reshuffled the cabinet with Mr Manuel Valls, the dynamic former interior minister, named prime minister.