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French MPs to become interns for a week to boost experience

Diane Collins and Jordan Hollender | Digital Vision | Getty Images

French members of Parliament (MPs) are being encouraged to go on work placements in an effort to boost their understanding of the business world.

The initiative, launched by business think tank Entreprise et Progrès, will see participating MPs complete a one-week managerial internship at one of the 120 businesses in its network.

It hopes that giving MPs a better understanding of how private sector businesses operate would make them more informed when it comes to legislating on economic issues.


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The scheme comes amid concerns about the level of some MPs' knowledge of the private sector, given that the vast majority of French parliamentarians started their career as public servants, according to a report by academic think tank En Temps Reel.

The report, published in December 2013, also found that around 90 percent of French MPs hold several political offices and therefore do not have a job outside politics – although France's President Francois Hollande has pledged to abolish this system.

Denis Terrien, president of Entreprise et Progrès, said the internship scheme was especially important given the current economic climate.

"In a crisis context, in which growth and employment are absolute imperatives, it is crucial that MPs and corporate leaders know each other better, to work together," he said in a statement.

So far, fifteen MPs across all political parties have expressed an interest in undergoing an internship. They could end up working at some of the country's biggest companies, including L'Oreal, Suez Environment, Vinci Construction – and even foreign corporations like Pepsico France, EY, Sanofi and Total.

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