Eighteen-year-olds will be able to stand in local elections, more young men will be allowed to opt for non-military national service and some young people who are currently ineligible for workplace training will now be entitled to it, announced Prime Minister Edouard Balladur last week.
He was introducing 29 measures in a watered-down response to 57 detailed proposals resulting from youth consultation exercises held earlier this year. These were set up after mass protests forced the government to abandon plans for a workplace training scheme that would have paid young people below the minimum wage.
M Balladur accepted plans to increase civic involvement and access to information for young people. A youth card will reduce transport and leisure costs, and towns will be encouraged to provide easier access to sports and leisure facilities. Youth health centres and a free medical telephone advice line will be introduced and every school with more than 500 pupils will have a school nurse.
Measures from secondary school onwards will be introduced to help young people to find work. Fear of unemployment emerged as a major fear of respondents to the consultation questionnaire, which was returned by 1.5 million 15-to-25-year-olds. As well as improved access to training schemes, more young people will be eligible for grants, and funds for youth aid will be increased.