France: Can Jospin Pull The Socialists Out Of Their Slump?

Poor Lionel Jospin. With France taking over the European Union presidency on July 1, the French Socialist Prime Minister has a chance to showcase himself as a statesman while basking in the glow of his country's growing economy. But Gaullist President Jacques Chirac, whom Jospin plans to run against for the French presidency in 2002, is stealing the show. In recent weeks, Chirac has made headline-grabbing speeches to the European Parliament and to Germany's Bundestag on his vision for the future of European integration. And Jospin? He's plugging away on EU institutional reform, the important but decidedly less glamorous issue he plans to focus on in France's six months at the EU's helm.

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