Health and Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine insists new reforms, criticised by the Right as lacking boldness, are no stopgap measure.
French primary pupils return to their classrooms this week with new rules in place shortening the length of the school day. But not only will just a fifth of schools actually implement the reforms this year, they will be applied differently even in those areas that do adopt them. This could create significant inequalities in pupils' access to extracurricular activities; some children will get to practice circus acts, others will simply be put in childcare. Lucie Delaporte reports on these and other changes at the start of the new academic year.
Justice minister Christiane Taubira also plans to remove minimum sentence guidelines for repeat offenders, as opposition decry reforms as 'soft'.
French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault suggests giving those in tough physical jobs a points-based credit system rather than pension based on years worked.
Government-commissioned report urges longer working years for full pension benefits and reduction of tax breaks for wealthier retirees.
Amidst the heated debate over the French government’s plan to further reform the French pension system, a cross-party parliamentary committee will next month deliver its recommendations on remedying what one of its members describes as the “scandalous” plight of hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers who enter retirement with little rights and in conditions of dire poverty. Carine Fouteau reports on a shameful social issue that has hitherto been swept under the carpet by successive governments, and hears from the committee’s rapporteur, Alexis Bachelay, what reforms he and his colleagues are due to propose in June.
Earlier this week the French Senate held the first of two parliamentary consultative debates to explore how to make France a more attractive destination for skilled foreign professionals and students, an issue that has long been neglected and submerged under the anti-immigration policies and political rhetoric of the government’s predecessors. In a move to catch up with initiatives launched by other countries, the government plans to present a bill of law this summer to reform its immigration legislation to attempt to facilitate and encourage professional immigration. Carine Fouteau reports on how what was once a political taboo is now the subject of an open and aggressive competition for an ever-growing and increasingly-needed pool of talent worldwide.
EU says France’s shrinking share of global exports and diminishing growth prospects set to continue until country’s labour market is more flexible.
When he was a candidate for the presidency, François Hollande promised to create a French system of government that would be beyond reproach. Earlier this week the president took his first steps to achieve that with the announcement of four laws to change the French Constitution. Yet there has been as much attention on the measures left out of the reforms as on what has been included. For example, there is no end to the president's immunity from prosecution while in office. Lénaïg Bredoux and Michel Deléan explain that the president has only backed those laws he is sure will get passed.
Socialist government says it will overhaul pension system again because former president Nicolas Sarkozy failed to ensure its long-term viability.
Ministers hail it as model for the rest of Europe as critics say it falls short of president's campaign pledge to get tough with financial sector.
President François Hollande and education minister Vincent Peillon have made reform of the school calendar in France one of the top priorities of the new administration. The changes will see the extension of the school week from four to four-and-a-half days, but a shortening of the school day itself. However, the shake-up of the system will have financial implications for local councils whose budgets are already being squeezed, and their opposition is threatening to delay the reforms, as Lucie Delaporte reports.
The French prime minister is forced into an embarrassing climbdown after suggesting a possible change to the country's historic 35-hour work week.
President Hollande's sweeping package of reform to France's school system includes a ban on homework and lowering the daily hours pupils work.
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.