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The French government has capitulated on their proposal to allow greater flexibility to employers in hiring and terminating younger workers in order to allow for more risk-taking, after protests and riots staged by the people the new policy would have helped most. Ten weeks of sit-ins, burning cars, and talk of ending the Fifth Republic has forced Jacques Chirac to withdraw the policy altogether:
French President Jacques Chirac announced that his government was abandoning a youth jobs plan that has sparked million-strong protests and replacing it with new measures to help young people into work.
"The president of the republic has decided to replace Article 8 of the law on equal opportunities with measures in favour of the professional insertion of young people in difficulty," the presidency said in a statement on Monday.
The text said that Chirac's decision was taken "based on a proposal from the prime minister, after hearing the leaders and heads of the parliamentary groups of the parliamentary majority".
The announcement followed a high-level meeting with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin -- who fathered the contested First Employment Contract (CPE) -- and leaders of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).
Unions and student groups, which had threatened more protests unless the measure was withdrawn by the end of this week, were to meet later Monday to decide what further action to take.
This will probably spell the end of De Villepin's political ambitions. He designed the new policy to reduce unemployment among workers under 26, which now tops 22 percent, a major component of the national unemployment rate of over 10%. The strain of carrying that many younger citizens on the government dole keeps France from realizing any economic potential while creating a culture of entitlement that the nation will not be able to maintain. The reaction to De Villepin's sensible first steps to solving these chronic problems show just how badly the French have declined.
Chirac may salvage some political juice from this mess, but the center-right coalition has its days numbered. The people do not want market-based reforms, even in such a mild form as the CPE. The unions and the students in the street will not risk another attempt to hold them accountable for their job performance but instead will demand even greater job protections. That will benefit the Socialists in the next election, who will give the French what they demand, and that will only deliver even more economic misery. In the meantime, the French will keep insisting that the "Anglo-Saxon" model of market economics does not fit their lifestyles, allowing their historical mistrust of l'Angleterre to cloud their economic policies.
France will not fight. It is an old story, and history repeats itself yet again.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» France Surrenders! from Jason E. High
Hehe, I couldn’t resist using that headling. France has given in to the protestors and decided to undo the law that would have gone a long way toward curbing the high unemployment among young people. French President Jacques Chirac announced tha... [Read More]
Tracked on April 10, 2006 6:43 AM
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