Jacques Chirac became president of France with a majority 53 to 47 vote in a close May 1995 presidential election. Chirac had little time to celebrate, however. Chirac faced the daunting tasks of fixing France’s waning economy and addressing widening social inequality. At the time, France’s economy was limping along with unemployment at 12.3% - higher than any other leading industrialised nation.
French students and workers force government to abandon new sub-minimum wage policy for young workers, 1994
1993, the Conservative French government, under Prime Minister Édouard
Balladur, enacted the contrat d’insertion professionelle (professional
insertion contract, CIP), a new wage policy intended to address the extremely
high level of unemployment among French youth. At the time, one out of four
French youth between the ages of 18 and 26 were out of work. The French
government published decrees in late February 1994 that announced CIP and its
main provision: the establishment of new entry-level wages for young people
January of 2006 in France was tense time. Economic growth in 2005 had been unexpectedly poor and national unemployment was at nearly 10%, totaling more than 2.5 million people. Youth unemployment was particularly problematic, with the under-26 population suffering a joblessness rate of 22-23% nationwide and 40% or 50% in France’s poorest communities. In fact, youth angst and dissatisfaction, significantly influenced by the high unemployment rate, was so high by the end of 2005 that urban riots forced France to declare a two month state of emergency.
In September of 1995, international negotiations began on a draft agreement called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). The document was being negotiated by members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The stated goals of the agreement were to establish a set of multilateral rules for foreign investment that would govern the process in a more structured, systematic way. Up until the draft, foreign investment agreements were established on a country-by-country bilateral basis.