|Birth Day:||July 12, 1937|
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, under the presidential administration of Jacques Chirac, this Socialist Party politician held office as Prime Minister of France. He had previously served as both Minister of Sport and Minister of National Education.
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After attending both the National School of Administration and the Paris Institute of Political Studies, he was awarded a high-ranking position within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
After his graduation from the ENA in 1965, he entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as secretary of Foreign Affairs. He became in charge of economic cooperation there, and worked with Ernest-Antoine Seillière, future leader of the MEDEF employers' union.
Representative of a generation of left-wingers who criticized the old SFIO Socialist Party, he joined a Trotskyist group, the Internationalist Communist Organization (OCI) in the 1960s, before entering the renewed Socialist Party (PS) in 1971. Joining François Mitterrand's circle, he became the second highest-ranking member of the party in 1979, then its First Secretary when Mitterrand was elected president of France in 1981. When President Mitterrand decided, in 1982–83, to change his economic policy to give priority to the struggle against inflation and for a hard currency, Jospin justified his choice. After Laurent Fabius was chosen as prime minister in 1984, a rivalry between these two political heirs of Mitterrand broke out when they competed for the leadership of the 1986 legislative campaign.
Member of National Assembly of France for Paris (27th constituency) : 1981–1986. Elected in 1981.
Councillor of Paris : 1977–1986 (Resignation). Reelected in 1983.
First Secretary of the Socialist Party (France) (Leader) : 1981–1988 (Resignation) / 1995–1997 (Resignation). Reelected in 1983, 1985, 1987.
Member of European Parliament : 1984–1988 (Became minister). Elected in 1984.
Member of National Assembly of France for Haute-Garonne (7th constituency) : 1986–1988 (Became minister) / 1992–1993. Elected in 1986, reelected in 1988, 1992.
In 1988, after Mitterrand's reelection, Jospin left the PS leadership, and, though Mitterrand considered naming him prime minister, he was nominated for minister of education. Under Jospin's tenure as education minister, teacher training was consolidated, the lycees and universities were reformed, teachers’ salaries improved, and technical and vocational education were reformed, which the socialists saw as a means of improving economic performance, tackling youth unemployment, and attaining social justice.
As a member of the National Assembly, Jospin served first as a representative of Paris (1978–86), and then of Haute-Garonne département (1986–88). He lost his seat in the National Assembly in the Socialists' landslide defeat in the 1993 legislative election and announced his political retirement.
In 1993, Jospin was appointed ministre plénipotentiaire, 2nd class (a rank of ambassador), a position he held until his appointment as prime minister in 1997, but he was not appointed to any embassy.
General councillor of Haute-Garonne : 1988–2002 (Resignation). Reelected in 1994, 2001.
In 1995 Jospin claimed a necessity to "take stock" of the mitterrandist inheritance so as to restore the credibility of the Socialist Party. He was selected as the Socialist candidate for president against the PS leader Henri Emmanuelli. In the run-up to the election, Jospin made various policy proposals, such as a programme for the environment, an extension of social services, a housebuilding programme, the rebuilding of run-down parts of cities, and a 37-hour workweek.
Jospin had concealed his relationship with the OCI while following a strategy of entrism into other parties, and specifically denied it when asked about it (claiming in 1995 that the rumor came from a confusion with his brother Olivier). In 2001, investigative journalists and successive revelations by former Communist associates forced him to come forward.
Continuous improvements were made in social benefits during Jospin's time in office, together with increases in the minimum wage. A 3% increase was carried out in the RMI and two similar minimum income guarantees in 1998, backdated a year, while expenditure on healthcare and education was increased. A parity law was introduced that obliged every party to field an equal number of female and male candidates in national elections. A decree was issued immediately after the start of Jospin's time in office that boosted the bonus paid to parents at the start of the school year from 420 to 1,600 francs for households with a monthly income of less than 11,600 francs.
Various measures were introduced to enhance facilities and benefits for people with disabilities. A turnaround of the justice system was carried out to ensure that a defendant really is innocent until proved guilty. The linking of benefit payments to the cost of living was introduced, together with a one billion franc emergency package for the unemployed. In 1998 a FRF 500 million budget was established to partly fund the training benefit payable to the unemployed. Improvements in the handicapped employment service COTOREP were carried out, while measures were introduced to upgrade handicapped access to public transport together with all types of buildings used by members of the general public.
The Jospin Government also established (within the framework of a policy to improve coverage for industrial diseases) of a compensation fund for asbestos victims, and extended the right to asylum. A conditional amnesty for illegal immigrants was carried out, with some 75,000 obtaining legal residence as a result. Measures aimed at reintegrating the very long-term unemployed into the workforce were strengthened in 1998, and emergency groups were set up that same year in each département coordinated by the senior local representatives of the government at département level (préfets), with the objective of examining individual payments to those most in need. An overhaul of housing assistance scales was carried out, and a law on gender equality at work was introduced. This legislation removed the ban on night work for women, and introduced new regulations for this type of work, with covered all employees. A social security funding law for 2002 was passed which, amongst other measures, provided a general rise in pensions and increased paternity leave (from 3 to 11 days).
A law was passed in 1999 which provided legal access to and development of palliative care, "allowing legal leave to support a family member in the last stage of a terminal illness." The Solidarity and Urban Renewal Law (2000) required that at least 20% of the housing stock in all urban municipalities over 3,500 inhabitants should consist of social housing. while a law was passed on sexual equality in the workplace, including an article repealing the ban on night work for women, in order to comply with EU sex equality legislation. A law was passed in July 2001 that included various social, educational and cultural provisions that lay the legal foundation for the implementation of back to work assistance programs included in an unemployment insurance agreement from January that year. An anti-discrimination law was passed in November that same year which safeguarded employees from all forms of discrimination affecting training, such as access to recruitment procedures or in-company training.
A law passed in July 2000 on the organization and promotion of physical and sports activities emphasised the obligation to take into account the different types of disabilities in the organization of physical and sports education programs within educational and vocational training centers or special facilities. As a result of the legislation, sports specialists and teachers were required to receive an initial special training and continuing education to better facilitate the access of disabled persons to physical and sports activities. Laws were also passed in November 2001 and March 2002 that added to the list of grounds of discrimination physical appearance, sexual orientation, age, and genetic characteristics.
In international affairs, Jospin mostly steered clear of foreign policy, but in 2000 he denounced Hezbollah's "terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilian populations", a position markedly more pro-Israel than Chirac's. On 26 February, when Jospin visited Birzeit University, Palestinian students threw stones at him, causing a minor injury.
On 5 June 2001, Jospin acknowledged before Parliament that he had maintained links with a Trotskyist formation "in the 1960s" and with Pierre Lambert's party (the Internationalist Communist Organization, OCI) after joining the Socialist Party in 1971. While studying at the ENA, Jospin was recruited into the OCI by Boris Fraenkel, one of the OCI's founders. He became an active member of the OCI under the pseudonym "Michel" after quitting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1968. He declined to locate with precision his rupture with the Lambertists, but Le Monde alleged it was in 1986–87, a year before he became minister, while Lambert himself implicitly situated it in 1988. Jospin said he had maintained only "private relationships" with OCI members after joining the PS.
An "employment premium" was introduced in 2002, similar to tax credits in the UK and US, providing a state subsidy to low-wage earners. Within a few years, eight million people had benefited from this scheme. Funds were provided for the renovation of public housing, while company pension savings plans were extended to cover small and medium enterprises. The Jospin government also made it possible for SMEs to jointly establish this kind of fund. A state-supervised reserve fund for old-age insurance was established, which created marginal capital coverage and was designed to protect pension levels from financial-market risks. Spending on education increased by 19% from 1997 to 2002, while spending on labour increased by 13% over that period. Social contributions for low-income workers were reduced, and a 5% increase in the RMI was carried out. A reform of women's rights and anonymous childbirth was carried out, together with a number of progressive educational reforms. These included the re-launching of the Educational Priority Zones, the establishment of the "Tourism And The Handicapped" ("Tourisme et handicap") programme, the implementation of language instruction as a priority in primary schools, the establishment of the "Plan Handiscole" for the education of disabled children and adolescents and their integration into life at school, the establishment of a national home-tutoring programme, and the introduction of local education and citizenship education contracts.
The 'social modernisation' bill included work-related provisions such as measures to combat 'moral harassment' (bullying) at work, measures to combat precarious employment (through restrictions on fixed-term contracts), and improved accreditation of vocational skills and experience. The law also contained a wide range of redundancy provisions such as the requirement to convene negotiations on the 35-hour week prior to any redundancy plan, enhanced powers for works councils, a contribution to the regeneration of closed sites by companies with a workforce of over 1,000, nine-month redeployment leave for redundant workers, and the doubling of the minimum redundancy compensation. A law on 'new economic regulations' was passed which aimed at adding an 'ethical' aspect to financial practices, "clarifying competition rules, improving social dialogue and enforcing the rights of consumers." In terms of industrial relations, the new law strengthened (to some extent) the powers of works councils in takeovers, mergers and proposed share exchanges. The Social and Medical Action Act, introduced in January 2002, provided additional protection for the rights of users of social and social/medical facilities.
Following his defeat in April 2002, Jospin immediately declared he would leave politics and stepped down as prime minister. He has since sporadically commented on current political affairs; for instance, he declared his opposition to same-sex marriage. In 2005, he returned to the national political scene by campaigning forcefully in favor of the proposed European Constitution.
In 2006, Jospin made it known that he was available to be the Socialist candidate for the 2007 presidential election, but when Ségolène Royal became ascendant in the polls, he declined to enter the 2006 primary in order not to "divide the party".
On 14 July 2012, President François Hollande announced that Jospin would lead a commission on deontology and ethics in French political life. This commission has been criticized for being too similar to the Edouard Balladur commission Nicolas Sarkozy created on the same topic in 2007. Some Union for a Popular Movement members also criticized the participation of Roselyne Bachelot.
Currently, Lionel Jospin is 84 years, 2 months and 8 days old. Lionel Jospin will celebrate 85th birthday on a Tuesday 12th of July 2022.
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