¿Se puede reformar a Francia?

Todo empezó hace un año con el "no" al referéndum sobre la Constitución Europea. Continuó el otoño pasado con la ola de violencia en los suburbios. Ahora, Francia otra vez ha atraído la atención mundial con manifestaciones durante semanas en contra del "contrato de primer empleo" (CPE) propuesto por el Primer Ministro Dominique de Villepin para abordar la alta tasa de desempleo juvenil.

Estas tres series de acontecimientos, si bien son diferentes entre sí, en conjunto ilustran varias características profundamente arraigadas de la vida social en Francia.

Primero, para Francia ha sido difícil ajustarse a las exigencias de la globalización. Además de la insatisfacción usual por los problemas económicos, el mal logrado referéndum de mayo de 2005 expresó el rechazo de una parte importante del electorado francés a la disciplina impuesta por las políticas de la UE para asegurar el libre movimiento de personas, bienes y capital -y por lo tanto la supremacía de la competencia económica. De modo similar, la explosión de violencia en los suburbios del otoño pasado reflejó la frustración de jóvenes desorientados que se enfrentan a las perspectivas desalentadoras que una economía moderna ofrece a aquéllos que no tienen la capacitación y la educación adecuadas.

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