-  Tuesday 29 September 2020

    Chirac lets down France

    12 April 2006
    THE problem with French politicians is that they back down on their stands, or buckle down under pressure. This is what has happened, again, in respect of the First Jobs Contract system introduced by prime minister Villepin and shot down by President Chirac.
    Dear readers, the new system was introduced as part of a reform measure, aimed at creating more job opportunities for the youth and helping improve the investment climate there. As a matter of fact, France is becoming unattractive for investments because of the unionism there. Villepin's reform measures were aimed at giving confidence to international investors to step in and make investments, so that the economy gets a boost and more job opportunities are created.

    France is facing a serious unemployment problem. So much so, there is a 10 to 20 per cent jobless rate, which goes as high as 40 to 50 percent in suburbs. Why so? Germany, in its neighbourhood, has a 10 percent jobless rate, but this was because of its reunification with the east. Otherwise, there was no serious unemployment problem there. In France, people do not want to work, because of the social welfare system, under which those without work get an unemployment doll of 1000 euros a month. This is as much as what one gets from a normal work. "So, why should we go for work", is what people ask. I have heard such questions myself.

    Investors are wary of the unionism there, which is why not many are coming forward for fresh investments. Firing an employee is not an easy task. It would involve long legal procedures. Which investor would want to enter into such legal hassles and break his head? The French laws are largely on the side of the workers. Villepin's effort was to effect changes in a way that more investors will walk in with their money, which would lead to economic recovery and more jobs for the youth. But, the youth didn't have the patience to wait for all that, leading to protests, and ultimate scrapping of the reform measures.

    While Villepin has taken a brave step, his president chose not to side with him, and instead pulled his leg. Villepin took the capitalist line, which is what brings results. The problem with France is socialism is very strong there, even as the rest of Europe has bid goodbye to that political philosophy. Even in Britain, the Labour had moved from the left to the center not only to regain power but also to continue in power for three terms in a row. People are, in fact, paranoid about socialism, as there is increasing awareness that it is not the way forward for progress. 

    Dear readers, it is unfortunate that a good step taken by the prime minister was shot down by the president. By doing so, Chirac has reinforced the view that the French politicians easily back down on their stands.


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