11 April 2006

PM Dominique de Villepan regrets his legislation was misunderstood

The following is an excerpt from Martin Arnold's article in the The Financial Times.

Looking tired and downcast, the prime minister [Dominique de Villepin] on Monday sounded almost apologetic for his part in a two-month crisis, which drove millions of protesters into the streets, split his party and sparked calls for reform of France’s political institutions.

"I wanted to propose a strong solution, because I had the conviction that… only a better balance between more flexibility for companies and more security for workers would allow us to break with unemployment in this country," he said. "This was not understood by everyone, which I regret."

The government’s U-turn, agreeing to replace his contentious youth labour reform with a collection of extra subsidies for companies employing unqualified youths, is a stinging blow for the prime minister’s authority. Some pundits were asking why he did not resign.

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