France moving gingerly on reforms

Dec. 24, 2008 at 12:51 PM

PARIS, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- French President Nicholas Sarkozy says he is moving cautiously on economic reforms out of fear they could ignite violent protests.

The EU Observer said Wednesday that Sarkozy has thus far shelved plans to change public education curricula and extended Sunday retail hours out of concern the recent street violence in Greece – or the epic French riots of 1968 -- could erupt in France.

"We can't have a European May '68 for Christmas," Sarkozy reportedly told his cabinet.

Protests over proposed reforms have been taking place in France in recent weeks and appear to be gaining momentum in terms of locations and numbers.

The Observer said Sarkozy warned his ministers: "Things are heating up everywhere in Europe, in Greece, but also in Spain, Italy and even in France. The slogan of the Greek students about 'the '600 Euro Generation' could easily catch on here."

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