The Economist has an excellent article, "The art of the impossible," which surveys France's problem. Because of a Gaullist (pun intended) tradition which simultaneously pushes for revolution, rejects reform, and is ultra-nationalistic France is caught between a rock and a hard place. An example is when the petty bourgeoisie riot because of a threat to their job security so France increases job protections which keeps the unemployed poor, so the poor riot.
France has little to fear from liberalization. Other countries like Ireland and Canada have proven reform can be accomplished while still having a welfare-state structure. However, the Socialist Party and even some on the right have declared their support for renationalization of industry. This would put government in control of vital sectors of the economy (just imagine the same government that manages to screw up toilet seat orders in charge of the economy!)
In 1975 British economists said that if the current course continued by 2000 Albania and the United Kingdom would be on par economically. The Economist says France does not face such dire consequences but I disagree. Combined with its economic problem are a shrinking population and a hostile fifth column which seek to convert or kill anything which stands in its way.
France can still be a powerful player on the world stage. However, the French government has time and time again shown its intent on promoting their own agenda at the expense of France. Let us hope this once powerful lion can reclaim its rightful position as a powerful force for international good.