Playing For All The Marbles In Paris

As grumbling Parisians hiked and biked to work past padlocked Metro stations in the early-December chill, a fortnight of public-service strikes was pushing the government of Prime Minister Alain Juppe into a painful dilemma. If Juppe sticks with his plans to cut workers' benefits and raise taxes, the strikes could widen, pushing France--and maybe even all of Europe--into recession. But if Juppe caves, France will never make the budget cuts needed to qualify for monetary union with Germany and other European countries by 1999. Without the participation of France, monetary union will collapse--and so will hopes for a wider European integration.

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