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The French presidential election campaign is underway, after President Nicolas Sarkozy left little doubt in his television interview Thursday that he would be a candidate for his own succession. One of the issues he will be judged upon is the programme he launched in 2009 to combat youth unemployment, and notably the rising numbers of youngsters who are dropping out of the system, unqualified and permanently unemployed. Two years after the president presented his government's ambitious ‘Acting for youth' plan, 20% of 18-25 year-olds in France live below the poverty line, representing half of the country's poor, and 22% of 15-25 year-olds are unemployed. Noémie Rousseau has been seeking out the experiences of those at the frontline reinsertion centres, and their accounts paint a grim picture.
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