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From Mr Serge Desprat.

Sir, I was not a great fan of this neo-Gaullist. However Domique de Villepin is standing firm against groundless opposition from students and unions to the first employment contract (or “CPE”) - a contract which would boost employment as France has never seen. He is standing firm against easy attacks from his own camp. Most decision-makers in France who want to see our youth getting employed know he is right. Only those with narrow political or unionized ambitions would not see this. The debate, goes far beyond the CPE. It is a test of whether France can be a modern nation amongst modern nations. It is a test of whether democracy is expressed through the ballot box or through the street amid violence and a disrespect for democratic institutions. If he holds firm, Mr. de Villepin may be the one to change France and we would owe him - including the current demonstrators - a huge debt of gratitude.

Serge Desprat
75016 Paris

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