French press review 17 November 2011
Several French papers this morning follow up on the policy deal between the country's Socialists and the Green Party. Among other things, they have agreed to scrap much of France's nuclear power industry.
The front-page headline in Le Figaro declares that François Hollande, the Socialists' leader, is weakened by the one-upmanship of the Greens.
In a rather laboured editorial, the paper reminds us that "Mildew is the terror of the rose grower . . . Are the Greens about to become the terror of the Socialist Party?"
The rose is the emblem of France's Socialist Party.
The Greens are stubborn, headstrong, obstinate, the paper says. And, unfortunately for the Socialists, they are their major ally.
Taken hostage, Hollande will have to put up with it. The green is in the rose, concludes Le Figaro.
Libération leads on the same story with the headline "The Nuclear accident". The paper suggests that the deal is already unravelling.
Libération is not surprised - in view of pressure from the nuclear lobby, which will do everything to prolong half a century of pre-eminence.
The financial daily Les Echos argues that, as an issue of sovereignty, the future of the French nuclear industry merits genuine democratic debate.
The paper wonders what the Socialist-Green idea would cost. How would it financed? What alternatives sources of energy do they have in mind?
Until we have answers it is difficult to reach an informed conclusion. Any decision will affect generations to come and cannot be arrived at by a simple, dogmatic, ideological conviction.
Further down market, Aujourd'hui en France, opts for the more salacious story it calls the Carlton Affair.
This is a reference to the hotel in Lille, northern France, allegedly connected with a prostitution rings which, allegedly, numbered among its clients former government minister and boss of the International Monetary Fund, Dominque Strauss-Kahn.
If he thought he was off the hook, Aujourd'hui has other ideas.
Prostituted girls lift the veil, says the paper, which has been talking to them. Among them an escort-girl identified as "Florence".
"At parties, DSK had all the girls," she is quoted as saying. All rather tawdry, I regret to say.
The Christian daily La Croix concerns itself with matters more refined.
Culture, an investment for the future, is its front page lead. The paper visits the fourth Forum on Culture in Avignon which is exploring how investment in culture can boost a town or a region.
Not only spiritually but also economically. For example, in Roubaix, a textile town in northern France, over the last decade the Swimming Pool museum has revived an entire quarter and profoundly changed the image of the town.
The Beaux Arts museum, a converted former public swimming pool, attracts almost a quarter of a million visitors a year.
Some people opposed it, saying there were better uses for money, given high levels of unemployment.
In the event, the museum gilded the town's image and kickstarted the local economy.
La Croix offers other examples from elsewhere. For example, festivals of jazz and the arts. All with positive results.
The paper quotes a former government official as saying that, in the mid-20th century, France was a cultural desert. Not any more, it seems.
The communist paper L'Humanité is worried about democracy. Or, rather, what it sees as the threat to democracy.
The paper says defence of democracy has become subversive to the functioning of the European Union.
Governments are replaced without the consent of the people. This to reassure the financial markets.
Still, L'Humanité says the left taking control of France's upper house, the Senate, is a positive sign.
The paper detects despair in the camp of President Nicolas Sarkozy. The left should strike while the iron while is hot, the paper urges.
Particularly against what it sees as the demolition of France's social welfare system.
The fuss over this - and the future of the nuclear industry - look set to run and run.