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Chirac and De Villepin Wave the White Flag of Surrender

Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin surrendered to the masses of youth protesting their proposed jobs law.

We knew it would happen sooner or later.

PARIS (Reuters) - France will scrap a planned youth job contract that has provoked weeks of protests and a political crisis, President Jacques Chirac said on Monday.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who has championed the job law and seen his poll ratings plunge as a result, said in a televised statement he regretted that events had shown the contract could not be applied.

He did not spell out the implications for his own political future, put at risk as a result of his handling of the dispute.

"The president of the republic has decided to replace article 8 of the equal opportunities law with measures to help disadvantaged young people find work," said a statement from the presidency.

One student leader said the First Job Contract (CPE) was effectively dead.

The new measures in the law would address the problem of youth unemployment of 22 percent, quell the protests and also find a way of saving face for Villepin, commentators said.

Details of the measures were expected later in the day and new legislation could enter parliament as early as this week.

"The necessary conditions of confidence and calm are not there, either among young people, or companies, to allow the application of the First Job Contract," Villepin said in his brief televised statement after meetings with Chirac and other senior ruling conservatives.

Villepin said the contract would be replaced by proposals aimed at helping disadvantaged young job-seekers and he said he would open a discussion "without preconditions" with social partners on how to provide youth unemployment.

And the grand French tradition of acquiescence and entitlement continues.


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Comments (5)

interesting that they're su... (Below threshold)

interesting that they're surrendering on something that wouldn't have made a whole lot of difference in the first place...

the reason french youths can't find jobs is not because it's too hard to fire the bad ones, it is because French companies have next to no demand for workers. if there was demand, job protection would make each workers marginally more expensive, but wouldn't tilt the scales to the point where there was no hiring (just like the minimum wage battle here: raising the minimum wage depresses the supply of jobs, it doesn't eliminate it altogether).

Not sure about that Steve, ... (Below threshold)
Andrew Paterson:

Not sure about that Steve, check out French labour laws.. It'll take a while beleive me.

"The president of the re... (Below threshold)

"The president of the republic has decided to replace article 8 of the equal opportunities law with measures to help disadvantaged young people find work," said a statement from the presidency.

Wow, bonus. Not only do they get to keep their "if you hire me, you hire me forever, so I don't have to worry about being hired" law, but they're going to spend more government money on programs that don't mean crap if no one's hiring! What I can't quite figure out is how they're going to spend more money to help them find work...maybe they're going to pay their airfare to Mexico and let them sneak into the US?

Government by street protes... (Below threshold)

Government by street protest - where Democrats and the French think alike.

Of course they surrendered.... (Below threshold)

Of course they surrendered. They've got over a century of experience at it.






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