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France

Yearbook 1999

France. According to Countryaah official website, the French year started off well. After a brief fall in economic growth in the winter of 1998, the economy regained momentum again in the spring. At the same time, unemployment fell and real wages increased. The Socialist Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, successfully managed to hold together the coalition government, which also includes the Communist Party, the PCF, and the Environment Party. Jospin's government was the only left-dominated government in the EU that continued to receive support from the people in the European elections in June. After the European elections, the Conservative parties in France are more divided than ever. President Jacques Chirac's party, RPR, received no more than 12.8% of the vote and is no longer F's largest conservative party. Instead, it is RPF, led by EU skeptic Charles Pasqua, defender from RPR. But the ragged RPR intends to take revenge with the help of the party's newly elected leader, Michèle Alliot-Marie. She is the first female party leader in France and was elected in December by a large majority to lead the Gaullist party.

1999 France

1999 FranceAfter the summer, however, problems began to dry up, both domestic and EU political. When the EU lifted the British meat export ban, the French government refused to approve the decision. The newly established Food Safety Authority, Afssa, said it was not entirely risk-free to eat British meat, which had previously been banned from export because of mad cow disease. Jospin could not sweep that judgment under the rug, especially not in light of the trials of three ministers that went on during the year. They were charged with failing to introduce strict controls on HIV-infected blood, which caused the death of 600 people. Despite attempts at persuasion by the British Government and the European Commission, France stood up and caused extremely strained relations between France and the other EU countries.

At the same time as the battle for British meat was going on, Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahns resigned following suspicions of fraud. An investigating judge in Paris is investigating whether he received more than SEK 800,000 in 1997 from the insurance company MNEF, which in turn is suspected of several similar, illegal payments to the Socialist Party and its officials. According to the suspicions, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, together with MNEF's management, must have produced false documents to hide the fraud.

When Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned, he was hailed as responsible for the economic upswing in recent years in France. His successor, Budget Minister Christian Sautter, will follow Strauss-Kahn's policies, a pragmatic blend of Keynesian socialism and free market politics.

In the autumn, the government also collided with the French employers, who in October gathered for a protest march against the 35-hour week. At least 20,000 employers from all over the country marched in Paris against the new law, which comes into force in January 2000 in all private companies with more than 20 employees. The government hopes that the law will create 123,000 new jobs, which employers doubt.

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