The Corner

Frog Watch

Financial Times:

De Villepin tinkers

Few economists expected Dominique de Villepin to embark on radical structural reform of France’s labour law on Wednesday, yet many were surprised by the modesty of the measures announced by the new prime minister and the emphasis on the state to solve unemployment.

“A great debate has been launched on the over-regulated, over-protected and over-structured labour market in France. But the end result is nothing,” said Elie Cohen, director of the National Centre for Scientific Research, the monolithic state body. Underlining his disappointment with the prime minister’s speech, Mr Cohen said it was “symbolic” that business came in last place in Mr de Villepin’s list of the actors he was counting on to tackle unemployment, after the state, local authorities, associations and trade unions.

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