Monday, June 22, 2009

Minutes from the Congres de Versailles.

Funny what the Niqab thing got sandwiched between.

22/06 14:55 - Nicolas Sarkozy began speaking before the assembled parliament at the Congress of Versailles; the first since 1875*.

22/06 15:02 - Nicholas Sarkozy declared before the Congress that "the economic crisis is not finished," adding that "nothing [will be] as it was before." "Acting as though everything must start over again as before with the same criteria, the same methods would be a fatal error," He added that "we do not know when [the crisis] will end."

15:16 - "Secularism is not the rejection of religious sentiment," affirmed the president. It is a principle of neutrality, of respect." he specified, adding that "we should not be ashamed of our values."

15:20 - Nicolas Sarkozy highlighted that wearing the Burkha (full body veil) is "a problem for liberty, for women's dignity." "The Burkha is not a religious issue, it is a sign of submission, of the lowering of women," he insisted, stating specifically that "it is not welcome in the territory of the Republic."

15:23 - Nicolas Sarkozy stated that, regarding Hadopi, he wanted to go "as far as possible" against illegal downloading.

15:26 - Nicolas Sarkozy rejected the principal of a "politic of rigor**" "I will not participate in a politic of rigor, as this has always failed," specifying that "I will not increase taxes."

15:30 - The President affirmed that the government will have "a date with reform." He insisted that "We will pursue reform on the federal level and on the administrative level. We will not shrink from cutting (by attrition) one out of every two administrative positions in the public sector. We will go further in getting a handle on medical expenses and we will go as far as possible in regional reforms."

15:38 - Nicolas Sarkozy announced a "rearrangement***" of the government for Wednesday.

15:40 - The Chief of State announced the creation of a national loan (pool) which will be devoted exclusively to financing strategic priorities and which would be raised either on the financial markets or via the on the French people. The amount and the procedures surrounding this loan would be adopted only when the priorities were decided upon.

15:42 - "Europe must change," warned the president, adding that "it cannot function after the crisis as it did beforehand." He also added that, "change in Europe must move in tandem with change in France."

15:46 - Sarkozy made a declaration that the decision-making time for pension reform would take place "mid 2010," further stating that "everything would be on the table," including raising the retirement age.

15:53 - The President expressed his desire for a solution to the problem of adolescents leaving the educational system at 16 with nothing and 'falling through the cracks.' "This is an investment for French Society that cannot be circumvented," the chief of State explained. M. Sarkozy declared his support for a state-run "Internships for Excellence" program geared specifically towards "Children of Modest Means."

16:19 - Nicolas Sarkozy announced to the assembled parliament his proposition that "all who were laid-off for fiscal reasons would continue to receive their (full?) salary as well as training for a year." "I confirm that all tho lost their jobs due to economic reasons - I repeat - all who lost their jobs for economic reasons - must continue to receive their salaries and training for a full year."

16:25 - The President confirmed before the Congress his determination in advancing the carbon tax in order to fight pollution and to lighten the (tax) burden on work (employers?): "I hope to go as far as possible on the Carbon Tax. The more we tax pollution, the more we can lighten the burden for Work." (No timeframe was specified.)


*First since 1875. That's saying a lot.

** Don't really know what "politique de la rigeur" is - politics of force? Interesting statement, given that one could argue that his actions to date have been very evocative of that absolutism/nationalism mix born under Louis XIV and perfected by Napoleon.

*** "rearrangement" - remaniement - hmm. Wonder if there's going to be a ministerial shakeup on Wednesday.

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