France offers EUR 580 million to Guadeloupe

20th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

More than half a billion euros will be offered as to residents of the French Caribbean island, says President Nicolas Sarkozy.

PARIS – President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled Thursday more than half a billion euros in new subsidies for the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and called for an end to a violent month-long general strike.

"Today we have a duty to listen to our fellow citizens and we have, at the same time, the duty to ensure the rapid return of civil order," he said after crisis talks in Paris held against a background of rising anger.

Sarkozy singled out for special criticism the murder of a Guadeloupe trade union activist shot dead late Wednesday amid ongoing riots and he urged the strikers to lift a blockade that has paralysed the tourist paradise.

He promised to fly to Guadeloupe to inaugurate a three-month exercise to gather opinions on how to reform mainland France's relations with its overseas departments, former imperial outposts that now enjoy full political rights.

Sarkozy also said EUR 580 million would be put aside for action to raise living standards in the overseas departments, which suffer the highest unemployment rates and most expensive living costs in France.

AFP / Expatica

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