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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sarkozy's Crusade Against Sunday Runs Into A Merde-Storm of Opposition

Street markets, long family lunches, strolls in the park . . . For the French, Sunday is a great tradition, a time to enjoy the finer things in life while other silly countries such as Britain keep working. So President Sarkozy’s plan to “abolish Sunday” and let the shops open is running into a hail of criticism.

Parliament is due to pass a Bill tomorrow to ease France’s strict trading laws, but hostility to it is so widespread that some MPs in Mr Sarkozy’s own centre-right camp predict that it could unravel before becoming law.

The President’s plan to abolir le dimanche is being resisted by an unlikely coalition of interests, including the centre and left-wing Opposition, the Roman Catholic Church, the trade unions and small shopkeepers who fear losing their existing Sunday business to supermarkets. Up to 60 per cent of the public, according to polls, are also against a scheme that will reverse the century-old right to a day of rest.

The President has made Sunday shopping a personal crusade since he promised it in his 2007 election campaign under his slogan of “work more to earn more”. He pillories France as a backward exception to the rest of Europe and has said that he was ashamed when Michelle Obama wanted to take her daughters shopping in Paris on a Sunday last month — he had to arrange a special opening for her at a Left Bank boutique.

link: President Sarkozy’s move to ‘abolish Sunday’ sparks hostility - Times Online


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