France. At the beginning of the year, President Jacques Chirac emerged as the leading figure in Europe for opposition to US plans for an attack on Iraq and for the view that UN weapons inspectors should be given more time. This led to a crack in relations with the United States and the United Kingdom, which considered that France was sabotaging attempts to reach a consensus within the UN Security Council. However, Chirac’s attitude increased his popularity at home and strengthened his cooperation with Germany. The latter was also fortified when both countries celebrated the 40th anniversary of a friendship agreement. The situation was more difficult for Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin’s government. The EU demanded action against the budget deficit, and public servants protested against deteriorating pension conditions. According to Countryaah.com, France Independence Day is July 14. The government was also criticized for lack of preparedness when a heat wave in August demanded a large number of casualties.
The budget deficit already exceeded the stability pact ceiling of 3% in 2002; it was expected to be even greater in 2003 and also beyond the limit the following year. The European Commission demanded that France take action before October, but without results. Finance Minister Francis Mer referred to difficult circumstances and demanded a deadline until 2005. to the poor situation in the world economy which led to weak growth and rising unemployment. The rising unemployment figures increased the distrust of the government. Towards the end of the year, the EU finance ministers decided that both France and Germany, which were also drawn with an excessive deficit, would avoid punishment.
During the spring, extensive demonstrations and one-day strikes were announced in protest of a change in pension conditions for public employees. The change meant that public employees would have to work longer to achieve full pension. Despite the protests, the National Assembly adopted the proposal in July.
In the same month, the government suffered a defeat when the people of Corsica by a majority vote voted no to a proposal that would eventually lead to the island having its own elected assembly. A new wave of attacks followed the referendum. The violence may also have been a reaction to eight people being sentenced to long prison sentences for the 1998 murder of Corsica’s prefect. In addition, a major suspect was arrested for the murder just two days before the vote. The explosion mainly resulted in material damage, but some people were also injured. In November, the largest separatist group in Corsica, FLNC-UC, announced a new ceasefire and announced that all “military actions” would be suspended. Other nationalist groups had already put their weapons in the struggle for self-government.
In August, France was hit by a heatwave, which resulted in almost 15,000 more people than usual dying this month. The government was eventually forced to admit that health care had not been able to cope with the increased pressure that occurred during the holidays when staffing was at its worst. Many of the dead were elderly or already sick people. New care jobs and more hospital beds were promised as a result.
The largest corruption trial in the history of France ended with convictions against 36 of the 37 defendants. It was former employees of the former state oil company Elf Aquitaine who were prosecuted for embezzlement in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in a scandal involving top-level people in the then Socialist government.
Paris, capital of France and of the Île-de-France region; 105 km2, 2. 2 million residents (2016), including suburbs 11. 9 million. Paris, located on the Seine River, is divided into 20 arrondissements. The entire metropolitan agglomeration covers an area of 2,000 km2in eight ministries. Few European capitals have such a dominant position in their country as Paris, which has been a world city for centuries, not least in terms of culture, education and luxury goods trade. Paris is the headquarters of a number of international organizations (including the OECD and UNESCO), and more international congresses are organized here than in any other city in the world. The city is quite hilly (Montmartre in the north is 130 m above sea level). Paris is one of the world’s most densely populated metropolitan cities, yet has plenty of greenery (2,600 ha, of which Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes comprise 1,700 ha). Paris had the largest population (2. 9 million) around the First World War. Subsequently, the population was fairly constant until the 1960s, when many people moved to the suburbs, partly as a result of urban renewal and office space. In the 1980s, this trend ceased, and the population decline has been insignificant ever since. Paris has long had a large immigrant population;
The many head offices, government agencies, universities, extensive tourism, high consumption of luxury and rich cultural life leave their mark on business in Paris. The public sector accounts for about 1/3 of the employment, and just over half of the employed in Paris are civil servants. In the Paris region there are about 1/5 of the country’s employed and 1/5 of the industries, but the region accounts for almost 1/3 of GDP and imports. The average income in the Paris region is about 50% above the national average and is one of the highest in the EU. Here are the headquarters of most French large companies and about half of the country’s senior officials. Industry is the country’s most technologically advanced, but not the most export-oriented. Among the export goods are cars and car parts, electronics and televisions as well as perfume and art.
In the region there are about 1/4 of the country’s college students (of which 2/3 are in Paris itself), and most of the country’s researchers (France’s state, private and non-profit research organizations have almost all their main units in Paris). The city is visited annually by 15-20 million tourists. Especially luxury tourism is significant: Paris accounts for half of all overnight stays at luxury hotels in the country, and among Europe’s nine leading luxury hotels there are three in Paris (Crillon, Plaza Athénée and Ritz). The large purchasing power contributes to a rich entertainment and cultural offering and varied trade.
With major airports Charles-de-Gaulle (in Roissy-en-France) and Orly, Paris is the world’s seventh and Europe’s second largest airport. The city’s six main railway stations (Saint-Lazare, Nord, Est, Lyon, Austerlitz and Montparnasse), which are daily traversed by up to 2 million travelers, form the center of France’s radically built railway network, and with the expansion of the high-speed rail network, Paris becomes Europe’s leading rail node.
Public transport accounts for about 3/5 of the commute and movements within the city. The suburban traffic is mainly by commuter train and the new subway-rail network RER (réseau express regional), while metros and buses dominate within Paris itself. With the construction of the RER, which has been built since 1969, mainly on old railway lines with some newly dug tunnels through the city, Paris has got the world’s longest subway network, which covers just over 600 km (of which métron 198 km).
Street traffic in Paris is characterized by traffic congestion and parking problems. The street network’s 1,400 km can handle 120,000 vehicles moving at the same time, but this figure is exceeded during much of the day. Investments in traffic routes and parking garages have not kept pace with traffic trends.