French crisis cash

July 16, 2004

François Fillon, France's Minister for Education and Research, said he would release emergency funds after university presidents threatened to close university buildings that are not up to scratch.

Mr Fillon promised to make €60 million (£40 million) "immediately available" after the Conférence des Présidents d'Université said universities should not open buildings that were unsafe or being renovated if there was not enough money to complete works.

Construction and renovation had been blocked through lack of cash at many universities, "with all the consequences for teaching and research activities as well as the safety of students and staff", the CPU said. It estimated that a third of universities were affected, with a shortfall of €100 million.

The CPU said the situation could "lead to universities closing, under duress, a substantial part of their premises from the new academic year".

Those already committed to works being carried out would be "faced with the inability to pay".

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