France


"France faces a challenge of reform too, but on significantly different issues. Its problems are its persistently high unemployment, which has never fallen below 8% in Jacques Chirac's 11 years in the Elysée; its rigidly unionised public sector; and its collective fear of change. All these features came together in the middle-class defensive revolt against Dominique de Villepin's quite modest attempts to tackle France's 22% youth unemployment, which were humiliatingly withdrawn last week after weeks of street protests and strikes" ("Europe: Turning away from reform." Guardian Weekly, April 21, 2006: 3).


Colby Glass, MLIS