French press review 6 September 2011
A mixed bag in the French dailies today...
The start of the school year is the top story for Libération and Le Monde today. Le Monde does an analysis of President Sarkozy's 2007 mission to reform education. It says Sarkozy has not lived up to his promises for the moment. Some of the greatest concerns are 60,000 teachers posts which have been cut since 2008 and that his aim to make all students bilingual by high school has not been achieved.
Going back to Libération, former French president Jacques Chirac is also making headlines. A court in Paris has decided that Chirac's corruption trial will continue in his absence, where his lawyers will represent him. A senior law professor interviewed in the paper explains that any person has the right not to attend their trial.
The court granted the request by Chirac's lawyers, after a neurologist declared him unfit to be put in the dock. Family members say he suffers from memory lapses and that his health has declined in recent months. The former president has appeared frail and disoriented on recent public outings.
The paper shows photos of a tired, aging Chirac on a St Tropez terrace. Chirac's lawyers insist that the medical problems are genuine and that he is not trying to evade trial.
However, Le Monde says that the judge's decision has allowed Chirac to avoid the potential media humiliation that could result from appearing at the trial. But the paper's editorial says that the judge's decision will condemn Chirac to silence in the public sphere from here on out.
Another politician dominates the headlines in Le Monde today - Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The paper calls Strauss-Kahn the "The socialist party's embarassing friend." the former socialist party's would-be presidential candidate returned to France from New York after the case against him, on charges including attempted rape, was dismissed. Strauss-Kahn is expected to explain himself to the French people soon.
An article in the paper says that the Socialist party has to move ahead in the 2012 elections with caution because of the DSK scandal. It says that even though no one in the party has brutally cut ties with DSK yet, he is seen as an embarrassment to the party. Segolene Royal recently said people needed to give the situation time. The paper asks, "how much time?"
Le Figaro agrees that the Socialists don't seem pressed for time waiting for DSK to address the French public. Benoit Hamon of the Socialist party says that a speech by DSK would be useful but not necessary.
Le Figaro also talks today about Greece and how Europe plans to save the country's ailing economy. The European plan to help Greece was decided on 21st July but has yet to be put into practice and the situation is creating more and more sceptics.
An editorial in the paper says Greece has been negligent, that its government is totally disorganised and that fiscal fraud remains a national sport.
Les Echos also focuses on Greece in its top headlines today, as well as the state of the stock exchange. The paper called yesterday Black Monday, after stocks fell sharply. It reports that the CAC40 has fallen 3,000 points to its lowest since the summer of 2009. The financial situation increases worries about frail economies such as in Greece. But it also raises concerns about the economic stability of the United States, after a report last friday showed weak job growth.