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    French President Emmanuel Macron arrives for an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Macron Pushes French Labor Law Modification to Deliver on Promise to EU

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    The confederal secretary of the Force Ouvriere union said that the labor law amendments that the French government intends to unveil at the council of ministers on Wednesday and later present to the National Assembly are actually part of the promise French President Emmanuel Macron made to his European partners to curb the budget deficit.

    PARIS (Sputnik) — The labor law amendments that the French government intends to unveil at the council of ministers on Wednesday and later present to the National Assembly are actually part of the promise French President Emmanuel Macron made to his European partners to curb the budget deficit, the confederal secretary of the Force Ouvriere union, Michel Beaugas, told Sputnik.

    "[Macron] wants to reassure Europe. He promised to loosen [labor market regulations], like a number of countries in Europe have already started to… So he wanted to pledge and say ‘look, in France we will respect the 3 percent public deficit, etc’. All this is actually the guarantees he is giving to Europe, notably to Germany," Beaugas said.

    The government officials had held consultations with representatives of the major French unions when preparing the amendments. Still, Beaugas said he was in doubt whether their opinions would be heard. He added that if Macron would not talk to the French unions, "he would start his five-year term exactly with what [former President] Francois Hollande finished his, having demonstration to the streets."

    The unions doubt the French unemployment issue, one of the problems that hinders the economy, can be resolved by modifying legislation, the secretary general of National Union of autonomous syndicates (UNSA), Luc Berille, told Sputnik.

    "In the past three years we had already four decrees, modifying [the labor law], and we still have the same number of unemployed. The problem of unemployment in France is in the economic conjuncture, and weak economic growth. If the enterprise doesn’t have a market, it doesn’t hire people. That’s where we disagree with the government, we don’t believe that by passing this law we will resolve the unemployment problem in France," he said.

    He also noted that modifying the law by passing a decree would give Macron a chance to avoid parliamentary debate and public attention, the latter due to the summer period when people are on vacations.

    "It allows the government to adopt it faster, also taking into account that it’s summer, in July-August when in any case it is very difficult to have an organized reaction because people are on vacation and the public opinion doesn’t watch it so closely," Berille pointed out.

    The labor reform should give enterprises more power to set their own regulations when appointing salaries and working hours, as well as firing employees. The French government said this move would attract more investment into the country. The final version of the reform should be uncovered in late August.

    Related:

    France Awaits Economic Reforms in Labor Market From Macron
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