53 Rue de l’Amiral Mouchez
MM. President and Government Chief of G8 Countries (except France)
MM. Secretaries-General of United Nations, OECD, and Executive-Secretary of CIS
Mrs. and MM. Directors General, Managing Director, and Presidents of Specialized Agencies or Organizations
Paris, June 23, 1999
Dear MM. Presidents and Government Chiefs,
Dear MM. Secretaries-General and Executive-Secretary,
Dear Mrs. and MM. Directors General, Managing Director, and Presidents,
I presented you, or your administrations or organizations a project proposal which concerns the major international organizations. The interest showed was strong but the nature of the project requires to have a large consensus.
Since I made the research, wrote the proposal, and defended it in front of your experts, I feel that I share a part of the responsibility in the outcome and question myself regularly on the quality of my arguing. I have tried to present the benefits of the project as well as I possibly could but, if many experts around the world have responded in a positive manner, I have failed to obtain a wide support in my own country of citizenship, France.
Instead of presenting you again the positive aspects of the proposal, I would like to try to explain what I believe to be the reason for this failure because it is significant of a serious problem that France faces for more than 14 years. The unemployment level in France has reached a double digit figure in 1985 (on the average) and stayed at that level until now (except for 3 years, 89,90,91, it was slightly below 10%). Unemployment has become for long now the number one preoccupation of the French population and also the number one priority for the different governments.
I was myself hit by this national problem in a very special way. As I was working for a local administration, I was fired and threaten to have professional problems all my life if I did not accept the dismissal with no compensation. I did have many problems as I was told I would have since I stayed more than 4 years (51 months) unemployed in the last six years.
I know that, as leader of large countries or international organizations, you do not judge individual cases. But your work may lead you to judge countries or behaviors of politicians around the world when it is necessary. Please understand that it is France and the behavior of the French political class toward unemployment that I would like you to judge and not just my project or individual case.
The President of the local administration who fired me, a senator (and mayor), was judged for frauds. He stole travel expense money, paid is maid with public money, and hired his wife in his cabinet (paid his wife) for no work (she was also getting paid by the French National Assembly). He was sentenced by three different jurisdictions, penal court, high court of justice for administration, and the administrative court (because I sued the administration and explained the judge that they fired me to facilitate the frauds, the computer system I was developing at the time would have prevented the fraud they described).
But the man is still a senator, still mayor and still on the board which votes the budget of the department, he even seems to have a wide support (he paid also the wife of Paris mayor, and other persons for no real work, the trial is now going on). He was not excluded from his political party the RPR. And even his successor from the socialist party (competitor party) who had criticized his frauds (used them even to win the job), has maintained the position against me in court although he was not able to refute my accusations.
How can the political class tolerate in the Senate and in a political party someone who has committed so many frauds related to work discrimination and favoritism, when, at the same time, it tells the French population that everything must be done to fight unemployment?
I believe that the answer is: Because the high unemployment level is a political will. I am not saying that it is a will of Mr. Chirac or Mr. Jospin but it is a will of a part of the political class (and support) large enough to prevent the level from going down. The unemployment level around 11% presents benefits for many, it is a powerful discrimination tool, and it does not stop economic growth, it seems. A study on this subject ordered by Mr. Juppé in 1996 describes some side effects of the high unemployment level which can easily be associated to important political themes (values) defended by parties from the right or the left. Unemployment strengthens family solidarity, links parent-descendant, the ‘family’ theme is strongly defended by parties from the right. Unemployment has created a stronger interest for public service, it valorizes public jobs, public service is strongly defended by parties from the left.
Another important political theme in France is the immigration. It is now possible for a European citizen to live anywhere in Europe, so the only real ways to discourage immigration are the high unemployment level and a strong discrimination. These are just general arguments, but the study mentions one specificity of the French unemployment which confirms the idea exposed even more strongly. It is more difficult to come out from unemployment in France than it is in other G5 countries. Why this particularity? Because unemployment is created by obscure ‘political’ reasons instead of economical or organizational necessity more often in France than it is in other G5 countries.
Is there evidence that these remarks apply only to France in the G7? Yes, I believe, Italy has recently accepted to legalize all its ‘without paper’, so many people from the entire Europe just rushed in Italy to obtain papers. France had also the problem but ‘without paper’ were not legalized. Another example is, during the Kosovo crisis, the media mentioned that Germany had accepted a very large number of refugees in comparison to other countries like France for example. These examples are symbols, they show initiatives taken by politicians to ‘promote’ ‘hospitality’ and to refuse discrimination.
The Kosovo conflict is still very present in everyone’s mind, so I would like to mention it briefly. For the past twelve years, the Serbs have used force (troops, tanks and airplane) to try to impose their political supremacy in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. They were in some way using force to discriminate people (for religious or political reason). What NATO tried to explain to the Serbs (after weeks, months or even years of negotiation) is that they can not use guns to solve their political problems. Many people hoped that they would change their mind after few days of bombing but, if the international community (G8, UN, Europe, ...) had not joined forces and asked together the same effort from the Serbs, they probably would not have understood, and the conflict would have most certainly lasted much longer, creating many more victims.
The unemployment problem in France has existed for more than 14 years, and, exactly like in former Yugoslavia and for the reasons mentioned above, it will most probably not be solved without the ‘help’ of international institutions (G8, UN, European Union, specialized agencies, ...). I don’t think it is a problem of ‘heart’, France is always ready to give out money for research to cure diseases, or to help countries struck by tragedies like in Central America (after the terrible storm), even in the Kosovo crisis, the Red Cross was surprised how much food was collected in France for the refugee. France has ‘heart’, the problem is an ‘intellectual problem’.
France has to understand that the high unemployment level creates poverty as it is mentioned in the report to the Prime Minister. What is the point to give out money to international organizations or international programs to fight poverty, exclusion or defend human rights in developing countries or others, if you create poverty and exclusion in your own country? As chiefs of international organizations, what will you have to tell France if the problem is not solved soon or if it gets worth? ‘We can’t accept your donation because you have to many poor people in your country, you have too many people sleeping in the street and dying when the winter is cold’.
French politicians have to understand that they cannot use unemployment as a tool to ‘promote’ their political ideas or values. They have to set the example and explain the French community that we cannot discriminate anyone on the job market. They have to punish politically those politicians who committed faults related to work discrimination and were sentenced by courts of justice.
The international community does not accept discrimination on the job market. Last year it was an important theme of the G8 summit of Birmingham. This year in March, the responsibility of the resignation of the European Commission was mostly given (by the parliament and the media) to Mrs. Cresson, a French politician (for favoritism among other reasons). It had some effect in France without any doubt.
Mr. Clinton, in his Remarks to the International Labor Organization Conference last week in Geneva, had this phrase ‘If we allow the ups and downs of financial crisis to divert us from investing in our people, it is not only those citizens or nations that will suffer -- the entire world will suffer from their lost potential.’ We can apply his idea here, if you let France create poverty by keeping a large part of its population unemployed, it is not only the 7 millions persons affected or France that will suffer -- the entire world will suffer.
Apart from Mr. Chirac’s encouragement letter, I did not get a strong support from France for the project I submitted you. So I feel, it is my duty to present you this different point of view on the unemployment problem to help France and to defend my proposal. I was hit by unemployment (like 7 millions people), and I am bringing you proofs of the culpability of the people who fired me, proofs that French politicians had no result on unemployment and that they do not have an appropriate behavior to solve the problem. I am also bringing you proofs that I made the effort to come out from unemployment with dignity by proposing a project useful for the international community.
I have put my trust in justice and in international institutions (G8, UN, European Commission, ...). Justice gave me reason but French politicians do not want to accept its decisions and to punish politically the politician guilty. Your expert have shown interest for my proposal, but French politicians do not seem to understand. They have a responsibility in the high unemployment level therefore they cannot have an objective judgment on my case. Together perhaps can you help France to find ways to lower the number of unemployed and suggest to the French politicians a more appropriate behavior for the unemployment problem, like for example supporting more strongly individual initiatives which are good for everyone (even the unemployed).
Mr. Annan, the critical aspect of the project is the coordination of work between the different international organizations, so you are certainly among the most competent persons to manage it. It represents, I believe, an important step in the evolution of international organizations information systems. I would be pleased to work for you and, in cooperation with the other organizations, to realize the project for the benefit of everyone.
I am copying my letter to Mr. Ted Turner because I sent him the proposal recently and asked for his support. He has shown the world that individuals too can play a great part in peace by putting more trust in international institutions. As political leaders or leaders of large organizations mandated by countries, isn’t it what you ask the people regularly, to trust you?
I trust you will take the right decision for the world and remain
Mr. Bill Clinton, President of the United States
Mr. Boris Yeltsin, President of the Russian Federation
Mr. Keizo Obuchi, Prime Minister of Japan
Mr. Gerhard Schrodër, German Chancelor
Mr. Massimo D’Alema, President du Conseil Italien
Mr. Tony Blair, Prime Minister of England
Mr. Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada
Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Mr. Donald J. Johnston, Secretary-General of OECD
Mr. Youri F. Yarov, Executive-Secretary of CIS
Dr. Gro Harlem Brundland, Director-General, WHO
Mr. James D. Wolfensohn, President, World Bank
Mr. Michel Camdessus, Managing Director, IMF
Mr. Juan Somavia, Director-General, ILO
Mr. Renato Ruggiero, Director-General, WTO
Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director-General, FAO
Mr. Carlos Magarinos, Director-General, UNIDO
Mr. Frederico Mayor, Director-General, UNESCO
Mr. Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission
Copy: Mr. Ted Turner, Atlanta, USA
Attachment: Project proposal and documents related to ideas and facts exposed.