Sarkozy stands by need for job market reform

11th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 11, 2006 (AFP) - France's Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who advocates radical economic reform, said in an interview published Tuesday that he stood by his ideas despite the government's decision to scrap an unpopular youth jobs plan. "If we want to restore hope to the French people, great changes are essential," Sarkozy - the centre-right frontrunner for next year's presidential election - told Le Figaro newspaper. Defying the establishment consensus, Sarkozy advocates a radical chan

PARIS, April 11, 2006 (AFP) - France's Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who advocates radical economic reform, said in an interview published Tuesday that he stood by his ideas despite the government's decision to scrap an unpopular youth jobs plan.
  
"If we want to restore hope to the French people, great changes are essential," Sarkozy  - the centre-right frontrunner for next year's presidential election - told Le Figaro newspaper.
  
Defying the establishment consensus, Sarkozy advocates a radical change in
France's economic model, including the liberalisation of labour markets, sell-offs of state housing and private funding for universities.
  
"I have definitely not given up on the 'rupture'," or clean break, he told the paper. "It is more necessary that ever."
  
"I simply ask my friends to understand that French people will only accept a rupture if it is perceived as fair."
  
Following weeks of street protests, President Jacques Chirac decided on Monday to scrap the contested First Employment Contract (CPE), which would have made it easier to fire young empolyees within a two-year trial period.
  
"The CPE may have given the impression the young people were being stigmatised. I would not want the idea of reform to be swept away because of this unfortunate case," Sarkozy told the paper.
  
As head of the ruling UMP party, Sarkozy played a lead role in the negotiations that saw the CPE scrapped -- dealing a severe blow to his arch-rival Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who fathered the CPE.
  
Seeking to play down speculation of a rift between him and the prime minister, he said: "It is not about standing firm at all cost on reform."
  
"We stand firm on the essential reforms -- such as pensions -- and on reforms which are perceived as fair."
  
"For the rest, to strike a compromise is not proof of weakness."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article