Friday, March 30, 2007

Royal introduces "First Chance" contract

Segolene Royal has once again attempted to turn the tables against challenger Nicolas Sarkozy with a new plan to get young people employed. According to her, this is a solution to the problem of 190,000 young students graduating every year without qualifications, and an unfulfilled demand for 500,000 tradesmen and craftsmen.

Her new proposal, "le contrat première chance", would allow small businesses to hire one new worker for a full year, while the government would pay all social charges and wages. After the year, it would then be up to the companies to decide if they want to hire the young worker "on a stable and durable contract". Wages would be based on the French equivalent of minimum wage, although they would ultimately "be fixed according to the personal situation".

Royal's speech to introduce the proposal more than faintly resembled some of Sarkozy's own exhortions, praising the value of hardwork and independent initiative. As always, she included her own life story and harsh upbringing as an inspiring springboard.

"I, who had heard all my childhood and all my adolescence 'you will not make studies supérieures, you are intended to remain in the kitchen', I forced this destiny.

I was pushed by the school of the Republic, by the teachers who said to me 'one needs to continuer', I could profit from a scholarship to continue my higher studies, I had access to the formation and I said to myself one day 'why not give it a go'. Such is the message that I want to transmit to you.

I want that each one among you, each girl, each young man in France that we love, can say to himself 'why shoudn't I also not try to force my destiny? Force your life! Seize your freedom!"

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