Sarko Unveils Rescue Plan for the 'Burbs

He will beef up police, boost jobs to try to conquer poverty, ethnic tension
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2008 11:04 AM CST
French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a file photo.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled a three-year plan to resurrect the poverty-torn suburbs of France, saying the "very idea of the nation is at stake." The plan calls for a major boost in police officers to crack down on pervasive drug dealers, the BBC reports, along with a bid to create 100,000 new jobs. The suburbs teem with ethnic and racial tension and have seen major riots in recent years.

"I want to tell these kids, who are French, nobody will be judged by their skin color, or by the address of their district," Sarkozy said. His plan will encourage youths to stay in education and help integrate them into French society. France faces municipal elections next month, notes the BBC, and Sarkozy must help his right-wing party appear responsive to the major upheavals of the last few years.