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France

French press review 15 March 2016

media DR

Most of the French press is headlining on the new version of the government's contested labour market reform. This Monday's annoucement comes after last week's protests against a bill that is aiming to make the labour market more flexible

Libération

A significant change from the original text, is that small and medium-sized companies would not be able to unilaterally introduce flexible work practices into their working week. The new proposals also strengthens the role of judges in rulings over redundancies.

Libération welcomes those changes - "Valls is finally flexible" reads its headline.

"Perhaps we should have started with this," says an editorial ."The new version of the text written by Myriam El Khomri, rewritten by Manuel Valls, and then rewritten again by Laurent Berger, the head of the CFDT union, is in the end largely similar to the initial version, would made its way without much damage if it had been presented immediately".

The changes, however, might not be able to calm part of the youth says Libé. But asking for the entire project to be withdrawn would be a mistake it continues, because some of the proposed changes will offer more protection to young workers.

Le Figaro

If you've already guessed Le Figaro doesn't agree with Libération you're right. The right-wing paper had backed the first draft of the project - by itself this probably explains why the Socialist government had to change the reform.

"We're not going to change François Hollande just a year before the presidential elections" says an editorial.

Le Figaro says that in the process of negociating, the government forgot the first goal of the El Khomri reform: to simplify the labour law.

"The problem of a flawed compromise is that it is flawed" it continues. "Nothing in the text will revolutionize the labor law so as to encourage business leaders to recruit. Nothing, either, is likely to calm the left, where anything that brings a little clarity and flexibility to the labor market is seen as outrageous".

"The law will eventually end up, like many others, in the cemetery of missed opportunities" it concludes.

La Croix

Talking about the French youth, that's La Croix's primary focus this morning. The catholic daily thinks the feaw new measures announced by Valls yesterday in order to fight youth unemployment won't be enough.

The daily paints a bleak picture of what it's like to work in France when you're under 35. For example, the average age of the first permanent contract has gone from 22 in 1992 to 28 today. This shouldn't come as a surprise, given that 24% of the 15-24 are unemployed.

"Our generation is being sacrificed to the baby boomers way of life" told a protester to the paper. "What I mean is that we can't hope to experience the same things that our parents have, despite the fact that we are more qualified".

And finally, Communist daily L'Humanité isn't convinced by the new reform. An editorial argues that bosses are complaining about the new version to make sure it is adopted.

L'Humanité

There's also a funny cartoon on the last page of L'Huma.

It's about the CFDT, a centrist union which is now in favor of the reform and perceived has too pro-government by the paper. "The reformists took to the street" reads the cartoon's title.

In it, a CFDT union member says "Horrible... we need to rewrite the labour market reform". "We really don't like it's font" says another one.

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