French Members of Parliament may reject economic reforms

A controversial reform aimed at unblocking France’s declining economy face a crucial vote in the parliament on Tuesday. It is anticipated left-wing Socialist rebels set to vote against the bill, which is causing France’s PM to fear the government faces defeat.

What this means…millions of tourists in Paris will be able to shop all-week long if French MPs pass a controversial set of reforms on Tuesday seen as vital to unblock its stuttering economy.

A vote will take place on the highly divisive package of measures drawn up by the country’s minister Emmanuel Macron, who says he has received death threats over the reforms. According to several MPs, France’s Prime Minister, fears the reforms will not pass parliament.

Due to the controversy of these reforms, the package has split the two main parties in parliament. It is expected the left-wing of the Socialist party is expected to vote against the reforms, believing them to be too pro-business and right-wing.

Minister Macron argues the reforms are the only way to free up the eurozone’s second-largest economy but he has faced resistance and strikes from many, who oppose changes to structure. The main plank of the reform package is to extend the number of Sundays shops are allowed to open from a maximum of five per year to 12. The law is argued as important for the economy which would battle against high unemployment.

This would mean in certain areas classed as international tourist zones including areas such as, the Champs Elysées, the Saint-Germain area and the Boulevard Haussmann, where most of the capital’s department stores are based, shops would be able to open every Sunday. Shops in these zones, which will also be created in the French Riviera cities of Cannes and Nice, will also be able to open until midnight seven days a week. Employees working between 9:00pm and midnight will receive double pay and their trip home and any childcare costs will be paid by their employer.

Minster Macron sees these reforms, as making Paris the world’s number-one tourist destination. However the Socialist Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, is opposed to extending Sunday opening and has described it as a “backward step for democracy.” Due to the changes this movement would impose, Minister Macron stated he has received death threats over the proposed reforms. France’s economy is in need of being pepped-up. It registered a meagre 0.4 percent growth last year and record unemployment has not come down.

President François Hollande is hoping Macron reforms, plus a package of tax breaks for business in return for job pledges, known as the Responsibility Pact is successful. He has elected not to seek re-election in the next presidential vote in 2017 if he fails to reduce unemployment but most economists believe a growth rate of around 1.5 percent is required to create jobs.

Photo by Zach Flanders


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