[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Press reflects French desperation

The continuing unrest in France over the controversial youth jobs law has prompted an intense bout of soul searching in the French press.

A sense of desperation pervades some newspapers, with commentators expressing serious concern over the opportunities available to French youth and the state of the nation.

There is a widespread belief that the government is on the back foot and will be forced to revise its plans.

La Charente Libre

Even if they go back to classes, through their rejection of the CPE, young people have expressed a profound anxiety about their future. We must respond to this anxiety - which is not simply the expression of a conservative fear, as some would have us believe. And the responsibility for this lies with everyone, not just with those in government.

La Presse de la Manche

Of all the countries in Europe, France is the most fearful, the most apprehensive, the one that is scared of tomorrow. The most important thing is to envisage a way of opening up jobs to the young that can bring them a future and social advancement. Whether it be the CPE or something else, it doesn't matter! The most important thing is to find a common solution. Giving hope to young people is now an urgent matter.

Le Figaro

The reforms that need to be carried out are immense. If there is one lesson to be learnt from this CPE crisis, it is that these reforms will remain deadlocked, and the country with them, if everyone continues to act 'against' certain people or 'without' others.

La Croix

It is a particularly French characteristic, that the world does not envy us, that we are able to tear ourselves apart ruthlessly, to confront each other harshly.

Les Echos

Four days after Jacques Chirac's televised address, it is still difficult to tell which path will lead us out of the crisis. Even if the atmosphere has relaxed somewhat, we still don't know where the negotiations will take us: will it be a pure and simple suspension of the First Job Contract, as the unions are demanding, or the birth of a 'diet-version' CPE?

La Republique du Centre

Yesterday's day of protest - as strong, if not more so, as that of a week ago - has confirmed definitively the solidarity of the anti-CPE movement. The televised speech by Jacques Chirac has in no way defused the revolt - on the contrary.


Chirac hoped he would extinguish the fire, but he has revived it. After another day of demonstrations which mustered two million people, the unions are in a position of strength to demand the withdrawal of the CPE.

France Soir

What a slap in the face! Far from having calmed the situation, the televised intervention by the president has reinforced the protest movement against the CPE. After yesterday's demo, the government has no choice but to withdraw the CPE. To procrastinate any longer could only make the situation worse, because it will soon be their heads that the demonstrators are calling for.

L'Humanite headline

The CPE: Out for the count but still standing.


The strength of yesterday's day of protest has told the Right above all that the workers and young people - so close to their goal - are not inclined to drop their guard but will continue to press for the CPE to be repealed.

Aujourd'hui en France

What is the point of [Dominique de] Villepin? This new show of strength by the unions weakens the prime minister even more - not only is de Villepin not leading the negotiations, which [Interior Minister] Nicolas Sarkozy and the UMP deputies are undertaking as of this morning, but the 'repeal' of the First Job Contract is now being talked about by ruling party MPs.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific