Global Security Headlines

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sarko's Cul-de-sac?

À la grève!

October 12 - France is on strike and the reverberations are spreading across the Continent with cancelled flights and cuts to train service with Italy and Switzerland. (see Europa se paraliza)

Can French President Nicolas Sarkozy defy the street full of organized labor protesters to solidify the country's finances?

President Sarkozy wants to raise the national retirement age from 60 to 62 by 2018 and the French Senate approved the measure earlier this month.

Articles with ''...les syndicats se félicitent d'une mobilisation en hausse'' (unions welcome greater mobilization...) fill the French press.

A recent Ifop-Sud Ouest poll shows an overwhelming 71% of the public ''estiment que le mouvement social contre le projet gouvernemental est justifié'' (say the movement against the government project is justified).

Even this modest move of two more years before retirement puts France ahead of the United Kingdom at 65 and Germany at 67, two countries also facing fiscal crises.

While a general strike like in Spain last week has not hit France, wide swaths of the public sector have joined the movement to damage further an already weak economy barely growing at 1% and perhaps a revised downward of 2% in 2011.

Today, even the organized youth spilled into the street to increase the numbers in the leftist campaign to defeat Sarkozy and prepare for the Socialists return to power in the presidential elections in 2012.

The youth are actually ones who have the most at stake and face a grim future if the government cannot align revenue and expenditures today.

Unlike its EU neighbors, France's population continues to grow (by 9 million over the next four decades). This demographic fact is stressing its generous social system.

France's budget deficit is 7.5% of GDP, well exceeding the 3% target set by the European Union and is unsustainable, a reality many refuse to ponder.

Past administrations failed to enact meaningful labor reform when the heat from the street forced their hands.

While a cabinet shuffle is expected by the end of the month to re-energize his administration, so far there is no sign Sarkozy is going to fold in the test of wills.

His prime minister, M. François Fillon, today reiterated his intention "mener cette réforme [des retraites] à son terme (see this reform [retirement] to its end).

Bonne chance!
If you need research from open sources in Spanish, French, or Portuguese and presented in a stylish English language report or a translation of documents in said languages to English, please contact Professor Winn at by sending an email to for a prompt evaluation.

No comments: