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France

Yearbook 1998

France. In January, the unemployed demonstrated in Paris against high unemployment and the government's unemployment policy. Demonstration waves have grown since the police on January 10 suspended unemployed who had occupied 21 unemployment offices around the country for just over a month. The day before, Prime Minister Lionel Jospin had announced the government's plans to set up an emergency relief office for the hardest hit by the unemployed. However, this measure was rejected as inadequate by most protesters. Clashes between police and the unemployed took place in Paris when the riot police were deployed to disperse the demonstrators.

1998 France

1998 FranceTo try to reduce unemployment, which at the beginning of the year amounted to about 12% of the workforce, the National Assembly in February passed a law on working time reduction from 39 to 35 hours per week. The law, which was finally adopted in mid-May, starts to apply in 2000 to all companies with more than 20 employees. The smaller companies have the opportunity to wait until 2002 to introduce the shorter working week.

According to Countryaah, school students gathered for joint actions and demonstrated in early October. When the demonstrations culminated in the middle of the month, about 500,000 students across the country are estimated to have participated. The requirements presented were for improvements to the neglected French elementary school: more teachers, smaller classes and more resources for teaching and material. Students also occupied, among other things. the railway station in Bayonne and a power plant in Saint-Malo. The government met with representatives of the students, and Education Minister Claude Allegre was able to announce in French radio in mid-October that they had agreed to jointly address the problems immediately.

The sitting government, a left-wing coalition comprising the socialists, the communists and the Greens, won significant successes in the regional elections on March 15. The whirlwind of the 1997 parliamentary elections thus persisted. The left coalition gained 36.5% of the vote and gained control of 22 of the country's regional parishes; previously they had power in only two of these. The takeover of power could have been even greater, but through settlements with the right-wing nationalist party National Front (Front National), the center-right coalition managed to retain power in five of the regional assemblies that would otherwise have received the left majority. The protests against the agreements, however, became fierce, even from people within the two largest center-right parties, the Union pour la Democratie Française (UDF) and the gaolists of the Rassemblement pour la République (RPR).

The first step on the road to abolishing the general military duty and forming a French military occupation was taken when this year's 18-year-olds were given only one full-day "military duty". Information, reading and writing tests for one day replaced the previous 10-month long military service. These defense preparations are compulsory for all men over the age of 18, an obligation that is also extended to women in 2000. Instead, the active armed forces should be transformed into a completely professional one.

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