In an initiative aimed at squeezing out foreign workers, the Paris region of France has passed a new order requiring laborers on public building sites to use French as their working language.
Seeking to raise the number of local public contracts awarded to small French businesses, the Ile de France region passed a Small Business Act on Thursday that includes a so-called Moliere clause which requires companies working on publicly-funded building projects, or in other areas such as transport or training, to communicate in French.
“This clause is necessary and targets foreign companies who come with their teams, without any of them speaking French. These companies need to improve,” vice president of the region Jerome Chartier said.
The French government has been critical of European Union (EU) rules that have enabled companies to import temporary foreign workers, often from eastern Europe, who will work for cheaper wages and undercut local laborers.
Public procurement rules established by the EU prevent states from discriminating against companies from another European country on the basis of their national origin.
Critics of the Moliere clause, named after the 17th-century French playwright, claim that newly-arrived foreigners living in France will be disadvantaged by the new order and that they should be encouraged to integrate via the workplace and learn to speak French.
Opponents also argue that the new rule will be difficult to monitor and enforce.
The Paris region joins others in the country that require firms to communicate in French on public building sites, including Normandy, Hauts-de-France, and Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.
H/T: Yahoo News
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