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Learning English - Words in the News
17 September, 2004 - Published 15:17 GMT
France’s economic plan to tackle unemployment
French President, Jacques Chirac

The opposition in France has sharply criticised the government’s fifteen billion dollar plan to tackle unemployment and ensure social involvement in the nation's urban areas. This report from Caroline Wyatt:

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The proposals were outlined by Jean-Louis Borloo, who rejoices in the grand title of minister for labour, employment and social cohesion. His aim is to boost all three in one fell swoop. The plan is ambitions: to reduce not only France’s stubbornly high unemployment rate of ten percent, but also to tackle the problem where it’s worst, among the children and grandchildren of north African immigrants in the French suburbs, many of which have become high rise ghettoes.

A recent study showed that up to two million people in France, many of them Moslem, now live in areas blighted by social exclusion, domestic violence and racial discrimination. The unemployment rate among those of Algerian or Moroccan origin is running at around thirty percent and even higher for the young. Thanks partly to such problems, the centre-right government of Jacques Chirac was roundly defeated in regional and European elections earlier this year. Cynics suggest that these measures are aimed at winning back the voters in the run up to presidential elections in three years’ time.

Caroline Wyatt, BBC, Paris

Listen to the words

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rejoices in the title of
happy to have the name of

in one fell swoop
a single act

determinedly, refusing to change

parts of a city inhabited by people of one nationality, colour or race

negatively effected

social exclusion
a community that is deliberately left out, not included


someone who always thinks the worst

run up
the preparatory time before an event

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