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France occupies an intermediate position in the Eurozone and its labour movement is one which is fragmented and adversarial. Lack of corporatist tradition means unions in France have historically experienced difficulties responding to external shocks (Crouch, 1993); the French case therefore raises the question of how unions in weak structural positions can effectively react to Europeanization. Following the introduction of EMU, this was partly resolved by a state incomes policy which limited potential loss of competitiveness; the role of unions in this process was nonetheless minor. The Eurozone crisis raised a further question of the French labour movement; namely the extent to which a movement in an intermediate country was likely to extend solidarity to counterparts in the periphery. Though mobilizations in France were more impressive than in core countries, significant protests being organized in France at key points, this response had limits and was a secondary priority for unions. The disposition of Parti Socialiste (PS) was also lukewarm. This was particularly the case on the right of the party; after François Hollande became president in 2012, the line of the German Government was increasingly followed.

European labour movements in crisis

From indecision to indifference

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