In 2007 the government under newly-elected President Nicolas Sarkozy launched a far-reaching series of reforms of the French state and its functions. These much-trumpeted measures were intended to modernise the country's administration – and save money. But though thousands of jobs have gone and some state services have become more expensive, there is little tangible proof that the changes have produced substantial savings. Lucie Delaporte reports.
This year, Algeria, the largest of the Maghrebi countries of North Africa, will mark 50 years of independence from its former ruler France. But the celebrations are set to be heavily subdued by the population’s widespread frustration over social inequalities, unemployment, and the decrepitude of public institutions and infrastructures, the very same issues that prompted the Arab Spring uprisings among its neighbours to the east. Pierre Puchot examines the indicators that suggest the Algerian regime may be the next to fall to a popular revolt.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday announced a battery of economic measures the scope of which has never before been undertaken by a president facing an imminent re-election contest. While still not officially declaring himself candidate in the two-round elections that begin in April, although providing a clear hint that he will run as expected, Sarkozy presented a raft of major reforms to be rushed through parliament in the weeks ahead, including a hike in VAT, a go-it-alone ‘Tobin tax’ and the effective end of the 35-hour minimum working week, all of which are to be introduced after the elections. Mathieu Magnaudeix analyses the principal measures unveiled during an hour-long interview broadcast live across eight television channels.
France "may have entered a short, shallow recession", announced the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Monday, the smae day when the latest official French unemployment figures were also released revealing the total number of jobless of all categories had reached 4.8 million for the first time since 1999. Mediapart co-founder Laurent Mauduit argues that this sad state of affairs is the result of economic policies that feed speculation rather than fight it, part of a vicious circle that sees the multiplication of austerity measures that are strangling the economy, worsening rather than improving public deficits, and which have already created an exceptional level of social misery.
The French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) in December released its latest report on key economic facts and trends in France. Mediapart's Laurent Mauduit has studied the figures and finds austerity plans are stifling French growth, with households rather than businesses bearing the brunt of the effort.