Macron shuns another ‘new’ plan, wants more jobs to tackle deprived suburbs
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French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday said he would not announce a new plan to fix the country's poor suburbs but rather called on France’s biggest companies to do their part to combat discrimination and poverty.
Je ne vais pas vous annoncer un plan ville ou un plan banlieue, cette stratégie est aussi âgée que moi.Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 22, 2018
Le premier plan de la sorte a été présenté par Raymond Barre. Cela a apporté des choses, mais on est au bout de ce que cela a pu produire avec cette méthode. #LaFranceUneChance pic.twitter.com/hGLLTZ9uL9
It would "make no sense" to pursue the same strategy, he said Tuesday.
Instead, the French president said the country’s top corporations and vast state sector would be scrutinised for their employment and diversity hiring in the next three years.
Macron began his address Tuesday at the Elysée presidential palace by declaring that he refused to speak of a “Marshall Plan for the suburbs,” a commonly used phrase for a suburban development strategy initiated by former President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008. He also spoke of fighting “house sentencing” that traps residents of disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
The French president instead called on the country’s top 120 companies, asking them to “do their part” in the fight against discrimination, which affects French people of African and Arab origins and Muslims in particular.
Noting that the top 120 French companies will be tested in the next three years to ensure they do not discriminate when hiring, Macron announced a new “anonymous testing” measure to detect cases of discrimination in employment.
"We are going to expand testing to check behaviours and make sure that there is no discrimination in hiring practices," Macron told a group of business people, local lawmakers and associations.
France has already tried random testing, which usually involves sending out identical CVs for job vacancies with different names to compare the response rate.
A study in 2015 by a French academic on behalf of the Montaigne Institute, a thinktank, found that a Muslim man was four times less likely to be called for a job interview than a Catholic counterpart.
Macron also promised 30,000 internships in private companies and state agencies for high school students reserved for teenagers from disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
He will also unveil plans to fight drug trafficking in July.
(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)