Quelle surprise!

The French government has capitulated to the protesters of the controversial and bitterly unpopular CPE. They caved in after thousands of people – many of whom would have been unaffected by the implications of the law anyway – took to the streets or went on strike in resistance to what seems to me an essential reform for their economy. If there was one problem with the CPE it’s that it was perhaps too discriminatory – why should only the under-26 be subject to the change? Other than this it seems clear that France needs this kind of change if it is ever going to create jobs for its people in the long term.

President Jacques Chirac says that the CPE will be replaced by ‘other measures’ to tackle youth unemployment. Oh. Well, job creation remains, to my mind, the most effective means of reducing unemployment. But what stifles job creation in France? The rigidity of their labour laws and the associated costs. So the best thing to do would be to free up French companies to hire and fire on a more flexible basis according to the cycle of their own business wouldn’t it? So what they need is a law designed to do this. A law like the CPE perhaps? Oops. Tried that and it didn’t work.

Back to the drawing board then I guess. All they’ve got to do is figure out the following: how to reduce unemployment without creating jobs. Good luck!


Centrist. Atlanticist. Dry liberal. Anti-totalitarian. Post-ideological pragmatist. Child of The Enlightenment. Toucan.

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5 comments on “Quelle surprise!
  1. Anonymous says:

    I read this morning that the ‘other measures’ involve subsidising companies to recruit more youngsters from minorities. So that means more spending and more taxes I assume. Its not sustainable.

    Personally I dont think it (CPE) was a very good law but at least they were trying. A good comprimise would have been a 6 month limit for everyone (not just the young), with a reason given if employment was terminated.


  2. Laura says:

    It’s not just the lack of jobs in france that is the problem. It’s the elitism. You get a job through your dad or your dad’s mate in France. That is why so many French people have come to London. It’s a much freeer (spelling?) job market over here.

  3. Citizen Sane says:

    The problem is that the French sit around all day, chomping on onions and going “hoh-hee-hoh-hee-hoh”.

    That’s where they’re going wrong.

  4. Brytta says:

    France is one step closer to economic and political irrelevancy. I say well played mob rule, well played. Can you get kicked out of the G8?

  5. bartong says:

    Here’s the thing I can’t figure out – I’ve gone out of my way to try and learn more about this legislation, and the only detail that I’ve seen printed anywhere is that the purpose of the new law is to make it legal for employers to fire (only) young workers within 24 months of hiring with no reason required. Anything else? Apparently not, of if there are other elements to the legislation, no one in the media seems interested in sharing them with the rest of us.

    If that’s it – just the new freedom to fire young workers without cause – then how exactly was this to be the force for modernisation that it’s been painted to be? How exactly was this going to be the salvation of the French economy?

    Sounds like an obviously unfair law (targeting individuals in a particular age group to the exclusion of everyone else) with little hope of substantially re-shaping France’s economic future for the better. Good riddance to it, I say.

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