French press review 21 June 2012
French taxation and the state of the planet are this morning's dominant stories. And neither makes particularly happy reading.
Le Figaro reveals the government's secret plans to reduce state spending . . . there are going to be fewer civil servants, the number declining by about 2.5 per cent each year for the next three years.
Ministers are to cut their operating expenses by at least 16 per cent over the same period, while spending less on things like farming grants and handouts to support cultural events.
Expenditure on housing, employer support and student scholarships will not be affected. The three key aeas of Education, Justice and the Interior Ministry will be more lightly trimmed than all the others, in line with promises made during the presidential campaign.
Communist L'Humanité is less pleased with the new government, reporting that 93 per cent of party militants yesterday voted against communist co-operation with the ruling socialists.
Business daily Les Echos looks at the turbulent times of the national carrier, Air France. There are going to be 5,000 fewer employees working for the airline by the end of 2014, that's 10 per cent of the current workforce, and there's also going to be a 20 per cent increase in productivity.
All of that, says Les Echos, should enable Air France to survive the current severe recession and fight on level terms against its principal competitor, Lufthansa.
Communist L'Humanité says its all just a plot to keep the share-holders happy by sacking unfortunate workers.
The bleak facts are that the national air carrier lost 809 million euros last year, and has an accumulated debt of 6.5 billion euros.
Left-eaning Libération gives pride of place to Socialist plans to reform the education sector.
On inside pages, Le Monde anounces the inauguration, this very weekend, of a cycle route linking Paris and London. Four hundred and eight kilometres on dry land, with an alternative mode of transport strongly recommended for the sea crossing between Dieppe and Newhaven. Three days for serious cyclists, two weeks for weak-kneed wanderers. Bonne route!