France seeks to liberalise draconian Sunday trading laws

A government commissioned report released on Monday has recommended a partial liberalisation of France's notoriously strict Sunday trading laws.

The report, written by former head of La Poste Jean-Paul Bailly recommends increasing the number of Sundays mayors can authorise trading from five to twelve. A review of current laws was also recommended to resolve confusion in the current system.

Bailly recommended a review of the number and boundaries of “authorised” zones, within which shops can trade on Sundays.

However those hoping for a full week of Parisian shopping will be left sorely disappointed by the report. Bailly said the exemption that allows several DIY shops to open on Sundays will need to be reviewed.

The issue of Sunday trading has become a polarising cultural and economic issue with French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault declaring “Sunday is not like any other day and we don’t want it to become like one."

Standing diametrically opposite the French PM's position is candidate for Paris mayor, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who has called for a relaxing of Sunday trading laws in the capital. She argues the measure could create as many as 10,000 new jobs.

Such a move is proving popular with young voters suffering from high levels of unemployment. A survey by French union CFDT found that 60 percent of people under 25 favour working on Sunday.