D. de Villepin apparently used one word for another: Démission/Resignation instead of Désignation/Designation. Over heard it on radio this morning but can't find any online news to confirm this.
Poor Dominique has been under a lot of stress lately (who put him in this situation again?) And that uber back stabbing morron J.Chirac is certainly not helping (quite the opposite actually, trying to delay the moment he'll make a public speech).
Now Constitutional council is to decide whether the youth labor law is unconstitutional (claims the opposition) or not. *sigh*
Am I boring anyone with this story?
It is boring.
It is boring and sad.
Both sides are wrong and right at the same time: Intentions are good, ways to achieve them are just unfair. Resisting here is fair, resistance to any change is suicidal.
Later edition: Italy is obviously in same situation MILAN Since he graduated with an architecture degree in 2000, Antonio Incorvaia has held a dizzying number of jobs: graphic designer, television writer, Web editor and journalist for trade and pop culture magazines. At 31, he describes himself as a “serial trainee.”
Like many people of his generation, Incorvaia has had to struggle between the job-for-life mentality of postwar Italy and the realities of a labor market that no longer offers such guarantees.
Many of his overqualified 30-something friends, he said, are in the same boat, flitting from one short-term contract to another without ever being offered full-time employment. Adding insult to injury, he added, “Prospective employers ask you why you've changed jobs so often.”
Last December, Incorvaia and a friend, Alessandro Rimassa, made their frustrations public and wrote a novel, “The €1,000 Generation,” which is available, partly free, on the Internet at http://www.generazione1000.com. The semi- autobiographical book about a group of young Italians living hand-to-mouth on a fluctuating income struck a chord: 24,000 downloads later, Incorvaia has a publishing contract and has sold the film rights. The idea, Incorvaia said in an interview, was “to highlight a situation that isn't talked about – it involves millions of people, but no one takes notice.”
In Italy's heated electoral campaign, politicians have not taken much notice either.
With Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his main challenger, Romano Prodi, lobbing insults and defending their records, the uncertainty of the labor market for Italians entering the work force has not been a key issue.
Despite the impact of job uncertainty on the lives of young Italians, and notwithstanding protests in France over labor reforms affecting youth, politicians in Italy have focused more on the country's aging electorate. They are promising higher pensions and better health care, rather than taking positions on first-time employment or education.
“From the electoral point of view, older people are more interesting in a country with a low birthrate,” said Alessandro Cavalli, a professor of sociology at the University of Pavia. “But in the long term, of course,” he said, young people “are very important for the country.”
Population figures made public this week show that of Italy's 58.4 million residents, more than half – 30.7 million – are older than 40.
The graying of Italy, said Tito Boeri, an economist at Milan's Bocconi University, has the potential to create an “intergenerational conflict” in which young people are bound to lose. “But an economy that doesn't invest in young people,” he said, “is bound to decline.”
Boeri pointed to issues affecting young people that candidates have glossed over during the campaign, like the question of Italy's high public debt, which will translate into higher taxes for future generations.
At the same time, he said, the government's labor laws have created a parallel labor market of entrance-level workers who move from contract to contract with little protection and intervening spells on unemployment. Poverty is increasing among these young workers, he said.
With no serious progress on pension reform for the last 10 years, Boeri argues, young Italians will have to pay higher taxes to receive lower pensions when they retire.
“They're twice hurt,” Boeri said.
At the same time, Italy is attempting to reduce government expenditure by discouraging workers from taking early retirement, which means that younger workers must further postpone their entry into the workplace.
Job instability, experts agree, is a big reason why Italian young people are staying home longer and getting married and having children later than before.
“The pension crisis is slowing he process of generational renewal and there's a real contradiction,” said Cavalli, who pointed out that in a country that “rewards seniority,” the average age of the political class was also high, making it difficult for young politicians to emerge. “At the same time no political group wants to assail the pension system in a country of pensioners.”
Berlusconi's main campaign tactic has been to defend his government's record. In a glossy publication sent to millions of Italian families this month, the prime minister cites labor reform as his government's main achievement.
Experts say that the reform, which introduced greater flexibility, had the merit of opening up a stagnant labor market. But in Italy's zero-growth economic climate, some worry that various innovative elements, like temporary contracts, are becoming permanent.
“You can't eliminate these jobs, but lawmakers and unions should work together to ensure that these temporary jobs don't go on forever,” said Carlo Dell'Aringa, a professor of political economy at Milan's Catholic University. “If they stretch out, they turn into insecurity about the future.”
One corrective proposed by the center-left during the campaign would be to make it more onerous for employers to hire workers on temporary contract – an incentive to hire workers full time.
Simone Baldelli, who heads the youth movement of Berlusconi's Forza Italia, is also running for Parliament in the Marches region. In a telephone interview, he dismissed fears about job instability as “leftist propaganda and pessimism” and defended Berlusconi's labor reforms as “opening new opportunities in Italy.”
He blamed past governments for today's problems.
“We're still paying the price of the promises made by the generation that came out of 1968 – promises of secure, well-paid and creative employment – that cannot be maintained,” Baldelli said. “That's an unrealistic dream machine. The truth is that people want concrete proposals.”
In the rush before the elections April 9, both coalitions seem to be reaching out to young voters, at least on the streets. Last weekend, the National Alliance, the second-largest party in Berlusconi's coalition, held a rally, complete with rock bands, in the center of Milan, and mocked Prodi's plan to require a six-month civil service stint for all young Italians.
On Sunday evening, Prodi made a headline appearance at one of Milan's best-known discothèques where about 400 people, mostly an under-25 crowd, had come to hear him talk about laws supporting Italy's music industry and fighting piracy.
Sitting on a fake leather sofa, hobnobbing with a handful of top Italian pop stars, Prodi turned down a free compact disc he had been offered.
“No, you have to pay for a CD,” he said. The crowd cheered.
Eric Sylvers contributed reporting for this article.