French Youth Policy in an Age of Austerity: Plus ça change?
In: International Journal of Adolescence and Youth. Special Issue: Youth Policy in Austerity Europe, 2014.
When François Hollande became the new president of the French Republic on 6 May 2012, as a moderate socialist, he pledged to make young people his priority and put an end to the neoliberal austerity measures introduced by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy from the centre-right UMP party. This article explores youth policy in France from 2005 to 2013, in order to ascertain similarities and differences regarding attitudes towards youth and welfare during the two presidencies within an ongoing context of austerity. The article first outlines the background of youth policy in contemporary France. It then examines and compares the major themes and measures in recent youth policy. It concludes that behind the changing political discourse, there is a large degree of continuity in French youth policy due to the sustained focus on youth unemployment in an era of economic difficulties and a corporatist welfare system, which does not provide young people with universal benefits.