France’s left-wing opposition has condemned plans to regenerate troubled city suburbs and get young people back to work, as a nothing but a masquerade. President Sarkozy’s urban policy guru Fadala Amara, herself of Algerian origin, unveiled the government’s plans at a public meeting in Lyon.
“I want no young person to be left behind. I plan to create 45 thousand jobs in the next three years, and cut youth unemployment in the suburbs by 40 percent.”
There was much interest among her listeners, but also scepticism. Critics said the plans have no teeth, with more details due to be revealed next month by President Sarkozy himself.
The President vowed to crack down on young troublemakers when he was interior minister. His hardline approach caused deep hostility in the suburbs, and he’s rarely ventured back since.
French tv news was full of pictures of rioting and burned cars in 2005. Sarkozy has since promised he will never abandon France’s young people, but he warned everyone must pull together.