French press review 22 August 2012
Ther French government gets back to work with a number of problems to sort out. Its policy on Roma causes controversy. And French children find out how their prehistoric ancestors decorated their caves.
Le Figaro and Libération lead with the crisis facing France and the urgency of undertaking reforms.
“State of emergency for Hollande!” declares the conservative Le Figaro, which dedicates its first three pages to the challenges the government is facing in the coming weeks. The front page editorial attacks by saying that Hollande should never have taken holidays this summer.
The president’s vacation photos, organised by his PR team, were an ill-conceived attempt to insist on the image of a “normal” president, reckons the editor. To tackle the crisis, “Hollande needs to change his attitude”.
According to the piece, the French leader’s policies of increasing taxation on the wealthy and keeping the 35-hour working week will discourage initiative.
The president must finally find the courage to admit the truth to the nation, concludes the editorial.
“Hollande’s date with crisis,” declares left-wing Libération, takinga look at the challenges facing the government the day of the first cabinet meeting after the summer holidays.
Bad growth figures means a difficult period for the French, with possible record unemployment rates, says the paper.
The editorial lists three major themes which Hollande will have to face in the coming months:
- Economic crisis which worsened this summer;
- European crisis dominated by Greece’s possible withdrawal from the eurozone;
- Hollande’s Socialist Party’s need to find a new leader.
The front pages of both communist L’Humanité and Catholic La Croix are looking into the crisis surrounding dismantling of Roma camps in France.
“Roms: let’s abandon bulldozer politics”, says L’Humanité. In a specially dedicated section, it features portrait of Roms families in Lyon region, hiding to avoid deportation after their camp has been destroyed.
About 800 Roma are scattered around the city, says the paper, while in Lille Roma have found refuge in a local church. Its editorial calls them “second-class European citizens”, whom France should integrate, giving the same rights as the French to the 15,000 “European citizens”.
La Croix dedicates a special section to the ways to integrate Roma in France.
Among key measures, a possibility to lift restrictions on employing them. Currently citizens of Bulgaria and Romania, where many Roma come from, can only apply to work in about 150 trades.
The popular Aujourd’hui en France takes us to its daily discovery of one of France’s holiday destinations.
Today it suggests visiting caves in the southern region of Ariège. Many families are flocking to the region to find out how prehistoric humans lived, it says. Children can learn how to hunt with a bow and arrow or sharpen a stone.
But the most popular activity is drawing on cave walls.