French press review 9 August 2012
Today’s French newspaper headlines are dominated by the Syrian conflict, including a controversial internvention by former president Nicolas Sarkozy and the fifth anniversary of the start of the current global financial crisis.
Sarkozy is back! Only three months since losing May’s presidential election to Socialist François Hollande, the former president has stirred up a controversy in the middle of summer holidays.
“Sarkozy provokes a debate”, says the popular Aujourd’hui en France. Yesterday the former French president and the head of Syrian National Council oppsotion grouping, who havdspoken at length on the phone, published a joint press release on “the need for rapid action by the international community to avoid massacres".
The newspaper interviewed French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius on the reasons behind the former president’s reappearance on the political stage.
His reaction is rather acid.
“I am asking myself if this is his way to remind us of his existence?" he comments. "Or is it because his memories of Bashar al-Assad, whom he invited to preside over the 14 July [Bastile Day] ceremony in 2008, are not all good?”
The conservative Le Figaro also takes up the story. Its editorial considers that Sarkozy has provided an echo for general frustration over the inability of the international community to stop the Syrian massacre.
“The Syrians deserve our support as much as Libyans,” notes the paper.
On its inside pages, the right-wing daily talks about the anger which Sarkozy’s statements provoked in the Socialist government.
“By reminding of his own role in the Libyan conflict, Sarkozy implicitly stigmatises his successor,” notes the daily.
And the Socialist camp is united in replying to the ex-president.
“Unfortunately, to ask for intervention is demagogic,” the newspaper quotes French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian as saying.
The other Socialist leaders are no less severe.
“This mediocre campaign is using the suffering of Syrian people for base political reasons,” said Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry.
“The crisis is five years old,” business daily Les Echos dedicates its entire issue to the anniversary of the global financial crisis. “9 August 2007 marks the beginning of the crisis which has still be resolved”, laments the papers.
It criticises the absence of real reform in global financial governance. It accuses the majority of economists of having ignored the contagion phenomenon. The paper calls on the international community to renew a coherent and global vision of the economy. “The global vision of the big economic mechanisms and policies still has to be reinvented,” it says.
In its editorial the business daily mentions three lessons to be learned from the crisis.
“Growth cannot be bought by massive private or public debt. The West has not lost its economic power but it lost its monopoly. Unbridled globalisation has to cease”. The editorial concludes on a sad note: “The violence of the tremors of the last five years signals more revolutions yet to come.”
France is under threat of recession. This is the opinion of the conservative Le Figaro, which cites statistics from the French central bank announcing the second quarter’s drop in GDP, which is likely to continue until the end of the year.
The statistics are not good, and the French commercial deficit reached 35 billion euros at the end of first half year of 2012. However, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici is confident.
“The return of confidence and, therefore, of growth is possible both in European and in France,” he claims.
“Gu Kailai, the fall of the red princess." The left-wing Libération dedicates its international pages to the very unflattering portrait of the wife of former rising star of the Chinese Communist Party, Bo Xilai. The paper asks if Gu's trial is like a settling of scores in the mafia. “The Chinese Communist Party resembles a mafia with no laws," says the paper. "Goodbye socialism, hello money.”
According to the daily, the top families in the party have accumulated vast fortunes. “All the top party officials have revenues they could never justify," notes the article. “Not only her [Gu], but the whole system should have been put on trial," concludes the daily.