Total government spending, which may be regarded as essentially devoted to these services, accounts for something like 50% of GDP." (Fournier, 2001)
Because of the creation of the European Union, France's adoption of the Euro and eschewing of the Franc, and standardization of business procedures, particularly in agriculture, France has been forced to change with changing political and economic times. "From the nineteenth century on, French agriculture enjoyed strong protection at the nation's borders." (Vial 2001) In the 1960s the development of French agriculture was "to a very large extent shaped by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the most comprehensive and integrated European policy."
But "the CAP now faces the pressure of globalization, through the EU's involvement in various multilateral or bilateral negotiations; it must also deal with the new concerns of consumers, who have long forgotten the difficulties that can result from breakdowns in supply or sharp fluctuations in food prices and are worried about the quality of the products on offer." Thus, "CAP must correct the imbalances and the environmental damage inherited from earlier modes of agricultural development." (Vial 2001) Despite the EU's pressures and globalization, many French farmers have resisted the incursion, not simply of American fast foods, but of standardized European safety protocols, such as requiring the pasteurization of dairy products. Even French office workers have bridled at the EU's standardization of working hours, disallowing the long, leisurely lunches that focus on savoring and tasting French cuisine. French rhythms of life have become standardized, disrupting traditional modalities of relating to family, the land, and thus to commodities such as foodstuffs.
The current French state's ruling political regime, however, has demanded a change in the French state -- it is not only the European community and the rest of Europe that is crying out for France to heed the calls of standardization and modernization in a more holistic European country, anymore. Change, even when called upon by the current French government, has proved difficult for a nation that has for so long prided itself on its differences from the rest of Europe, and its unique literature, cinema and culture. But the facts speak for themselves, to use an American phrase -- in France, the proportion of young people in work is the lowest among the countries of similar socioeconomic status, and France has been criticized for its poor job creation rate in private industry, because of its overwhelming state sector that absorbs so many promising and increasingly scarce young workers into state jobs.
Un the future, the state system beleaguered by the generous retirement pensions it owes, after the profligate post war period, cannot afford to be relied upon to generate so many jobs. The current governmental regime has stated as much, and said that the state method of generating French jobs must change. It has set the ambitious goal "between now and 2010" to create approximately twice the number of jobs" projected, "at least 300,000 per annum, rather than the 160,000 suggested by the conventional projections of the number of economically active people," by increasing investment opportunities for the private sector, wrote Jean Pisani-Ferry in June 2001. France is a nation with a great history, but its current government, says the ruling political regime, must show itself to be worthy of that history.
Carcassonne, Guy. "The French Constitution." May 2002. France from A to Z. http://www.ambafrance-uk.org/asp/service.asp?SERVID=100&LNG=en&PAGID=83
Education in France: The School System." June 2002. France from A to Z
Ferry, Jean Pisani. "Employment in France." June 2001. France from A to Z. http://www.ambafrance-uk.org/asp/service.asp?SERVID=100&LNG=en&PAGID=346
Fournier, Jacques. "Public services," May 2001. France from A to Z. http://www.ambafrance-uk.org/asp/service.asp?SERVID=100&LNG=en&PAGID=291
Phillip, Oliver. "The Prefect," 2001. France from A to Z. http://www.ambafrance-uk.org/asp/service.asp?SERVID=100&LNG=en&PAGID=350
Vial, Bernard "French Agriculture in the context of Europe." May 2001. France from A to Z. http://www.ambafrance-uk.org/asp/service.asp?SERVID=100&LNG=en&PAGID=290