Libération reports that on Sunday, at a commemoration of the 750th anniversary of the city of Kaliningrad (known until 1945 as the Prussian city of Königsberg), Jacques Chirac made Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schroeder laugh by saying that the only thing the British had ever done for European agriculture was Mad Cow disease, and that you had to distrust a nation with such bad cuisine. He also made fun of haggis. A British chef retorted in the Guardian that anyone so full of bile couldn't judge food properly.
The real news at the moment is that Dominique de Villepin, the new Prime Minister, is trying to force through a measure, called an ordonnance, to make it easier to hire and fire new employees. This is desperately needed. Small-business owners in France (known here as PME, for Petites et Moyennes Entreprises) are reluctant to hire anyone because of the steep social charges and the near-impossibility of firing even the most incompetent employee. However, most French people are mentally employees, not employers, and their ideal employment is working for the government. So, Villepin's initiative has resulted in his being exposed to a vote of censure after only a month in office.
Interesting! I just tried to find a site that would explain in English or French just how hard it is to fire someone here. When I typed in France comment licencier [France how fire] , four of the first six responses were of sites on how to GET fired. Because the terms are so favorable to the employee!
This is why, in most busy businesses in France, there are not enough people working, even though the unemployment rate is more than 10%.