Employment Minister Michel Sapin confirmed on Sunday, September 2, that unemployment in France had reached the symbolic threshold of 3 million, a level not seen since 1999, as explored by The Washington Post and Rue 89. The news came after President François Hollande announced on Wednesday, August 29, plans to create 150,000 state jobs for unemployed youth. The program, known as “emplois d’avenir,” is a re-working of the “emplois jeunes” program launched by the Socialist Party in 1997, as explored by Reuters, Bloomberg and Le Monde.
Before the European Central Bank’s meeting set for Thursday, September 6, French President François Hollande met with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Tuesday, September 4, to address the ongoing debt crisis. The two leaders called on European authorities to reduce borrowing costs for struggling nations, claiming that the link between hesitant markets and debt bonds no longer corresponded with economic fundamentals, Reuters, AFP and Le Nouvel Observateur reported.
Moody’s announced on Monday, September 3, that the credit-ratings agency would be maintaining the Aaa rating assigned to the European Union but would change the outlook to negative, putting pressure on the eurozone to address debt problems, with particular pressure put on its top two economies – Germany and France, The San Francisco Chronicle and Boursier reported.
As German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Beijing on Thursday, August 30, Chinese officials signed a contract for 50 Airbus planes worth about €2.8 billion, Reuters and La Tribune reported. A smaller order than expected, it was the first contract between China and the European plane manufacturer since a proposed European carbon-trading plan created a dispute between the two entities, as covered by Le Monde and Business Insider.
The Financial Times reported that the European Commission will make public proposed legislation next week that would require the supervisory boards of all companies to be comprised of at least 40 percent women, requiring each European Union member state to set sanctions and fines for noncompliant companies, Bloomberg and Rue 89 reported. France, as well as the Netherlands, Italy and Spain, already have such quotas.
Lawyers for jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko filed an appeal with the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday, September 4, accusing the Ukrainian government of fixing the criminal case for corruption and abuse of power, The Washington Post and Libération reported. The appeal came after Ukraine’s High Court announced its ruling on Wednesday, August 29, upholding the original seven-year sentence given to the former prime minister and leader of the “Orange Revolution” of 2004-2005, according to Mediapart.
The Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers released its monthly report on Monday, September 3, showing that registration of new cars had dropped 11.4 percent year-to-year in August, the tenth straight month car registrations dropped in France, Reuters and L’Express reported. Across the Atlantic, U.S. auto manufacturers announced double-digit increases in auto sales for August, as reports show that higher gas prices continue to drive consumers to seek out compact cars and small SUVs, as covered by The New York Times.
The TNS-Sofres 100-day popularity poll gave President François Hollande the lowest approval rating, at about 50 percent, just more than three months into his presidency, Bloomberg reported. Hollande explained his low popularity and the seeming premature end to his “honeymoon period” on the stress created by the European debt crisis, according to Le Parisien.