Royal: ‘Had I been elected, France would not be in the state it is today’

Image: Pierre Andrieu AFP

Le Figaro in English, 29/10/2010 (TRANSLATION)

[DIGEST] – A small delegation of trade union CGT protestors awaits ex-presidential socialist candidate Ségolène Royal in Décines, a suburb of Lyon. In a few minutes, she will take part in a youth meeting organised jointly by the socialist party (PS) and ‘Désirs d’avenir’, her association. “Had I been elected, France would not be in the state it is today and welfare would be protected,” she begins. “In 2012, if we are elected, we will restore full retirement at 65, and the freedom to quit at 60,” she promised a little earlier at a press conference.

After the final vote on pension reform in the assembly on Wednesday, Ségolène Royal projected herself into the future, while simultaneously renewing her support for planned strikes and demonstrations on Thursday and November 6th. “We have to set a date,” she declared. “The right-wing {governing UMP} party cannot say that discussions about pensions will be reopened in 2013 and at the same time tell us to ‘Move along, nothing to see here.’ It’s totally contradictory.”

Meanwhile, Mme Royal has called for a “national pact of trust for youth employment” which she outlined in five new proposals. The first asks that companies who receive government assistance open their doors to young people under threat of financial penalties. Second, she proposes a national apprenticeship plan, and to ensure that all the apprentices find a job in their trade.

An unavoidable subject

The fourth proposal: the general implementation of grants called “Désir d’entreprendre” that were put in place in her region, Poitou-Charentes. Last but not least, the creation of a civic service for all those who are young and unemployed. “This is how to give all young people a reason to get up in the morning and ensure that nobody is in a position of idleness,” she concluded.Youth employment has become an unavoidable subject in public debate. Earlier this week, the president of the Medef (the largest union of employers in France), Laurence Parisot, and the secretary general of the trade union CFDT, Francois Chérèque, agreed to open negotiations on the subject. Last June in Bourg-les-Vances, François Hollande had himself put youth at the centre of his campaign, should he be nominated as a candidate after the Socialist Party primaries. Is Ségolàne Royal trying to overtake him on this subject? “We did not even read his stuff”, swear the inner circle of the ex-candidate..

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