University students and school pupils are keeping the heat on the French government – staging a mass protest in Paris against the new youth jobs law. An estimated 1,000 people took part.
The party’s parliamentary leader Jean-Marc Ayrault said: “It is too late for the prime minister to talk about dialogue. He has ignored the unions, the demonstrators and his opponents here. Nobody believes him anymore.”The speech sparked a walk-out by centre-right deputies. But some members of de Villepin’s own party have drily remarked that the First Job Contract or CPE stands for “comment perdre une élection” – how to lose an election. That could be no laughing matter at the polls next year. De Villepin insists the CPE will make it easier to hire young people and thus to cut high youth unemployment. Opponents say it will also make it easier to fire them.