- "We have several cases of factories who close so I hope the new President will care for the regions ..."
- "Everybody come to the Ardennes, Sarkozy, Royal, Bayrou. Promises, only promises ..."
Indeed all the main candidates have made the trip to Charleville Mézière. It is the birthplace of poet Arthur Rimbaud, but over the past year it has become the symbol of white washed windows and high unemployment. Florence Turquier is a former employee of Thomé Génot, a company which used to manufacture car parts. The factory closed down last autumn, leaving three hundred workers out of a job.
Even people who have jobs are disgruntled. Last February a thirty one year old father of two took his life, he sued to work at the Charleville Peugeot foundry. One of his colleagues, trade unionist François Cauzeaux, blames the plant's management and the free market ideology.
"A couple of weeks before Frederic took his life he told his colleagues he couldn't bear it any more. The way the company works is completey determined by hard-line free market ideologists. So at a political level, the people who have always defended workers in the car industry are the far-left anti-market candidates."
"The ones who annoy me are the ones who arrive and expect everything to be handed to them for free without having to do any work. To top it all, they don't even respect our laws. There are 186,000 illegal immigrants in France, we give them free accomodation, free breakfasts, free dentists, free doctors free everything. No wonder there's no money left in the coffers"
Jean Marie Le pen is in favour of what he calls national preference: in other words jobs, housing and social protection for French people first. He took everyone by surprise when he kicked socialist Lionel Jospin out of the race five years ago. The fragmentation of the votes on the left is partly why Jospin didn't make it. Socialists do not want to go through the experience again. So they're are calling on people who normally vote for the far left to cast a useful ballot for Ségolène, to make sure that the left is represented in the second round. Jean Paul Ledoc is a teacher and member of the local socialist party bureau.
Royal wants companies who decide to relocate their activity abroad, to pay back the subsidies that they have received from the state, she has also promised to increase the minimum wage if elected. Meanwhile Sarkozy intends to revamp the 35 hour working week, quite thoroughly actually. He wants to allow people to work more and earn more.
His balance sheet as hardline interior minister has also impressed workers in the Ardennes. Henri Haurelou is retired, he will vote for Sarkozy.
"I am going to vote for Sarkozy because I believe he has the skills to run the country. We need someone who is firm and determined. Not a dictator but close to a dictator."
Nicolas Sarkozy is fishing for votes among Le Pen supporters.....hence his hard stance on immigration.....actually this has been the campaign's paradox.....
Unemployment and purchasing power are the top two concerns of French people, yet the campaign has centered around security and immigration issues.Listen to the report:
It's been four years since the fall of Saddam Hussein... but Iraq is still a far cry from the haven of Middle East peace and democracy once promised by the US-led coalition. More than 2 million Iraqis have fled the country in hope of a better life elsewhere. And more than 80 thousand Iraqi refugees have settled in Sweden - thanks to Stockholm's open asylum policy - an exception in Europe. But more and more Swedes says they're stretched to the limit and this welcoming policy needs to change. For Network Europe Radio Netherlands' Perro de Jong has this report from Rosengård, a suburb of Malmö.
Dozens of non-governmental organisations from the Czech Republic and around the world gathered in Prague recently for the annual NGO market. The 8th such event to be held in the Czech capital included lectures and debates on everything from the role of civic society in post-communist countries to water shortages in the Middle-East. The meeting was attended by members of the public from all walks of life, as well as Radio Prague's Rob Cameron.
That sound of Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki's Third String Quartet played by the American Kronos Quartet, is something you might be hearing more often in the future. After a long period of silence, much of Gorecki's work and that recording in particular, is being re-released: a chance for music lovers everywhere to rediscover his work. Michal Kubicki of Polish Radio’s External Service has been following the development of Gorecki’s career for many years.
This webpage receives support from the European Union