French press review 4 September 2012
In today's French dailies, it's back to school for French students and back to the Eurozone crisis for European leaders.
Twelve million French youngsters go back to (or start) school this morning, a five per cent rise on last year. However, they will be welcomed by fewer teachers than 12 months ago as Sarkozy-era cuts make themselves felt.
The current French president, François Hollande, has promised to make education his number one priority, therefore his critics are expected to pay particularly close attention to this school year.
French newspapers reported that students, teachers and parents seem to be looking forward to a year in which great changes are promised . . . more teachers, better training, changes in the way the holidays are organised. But these all depend on finding enough cash to finance the improvements.
The communist paper L'Humanité did not hesitate to blame all the ills of the French school sector on the previous education minister, the right-wing Luc Chatel. The daily goes on to say that it is unrealistic to expect schools to promote the values of justice and equality in an unjust society.
Le Monde devotes a front-page editorial to what it calls "A crucial period for the Euro" - again. Mario Draghi, the man in charge at the European Central Bank, has recently been promising "exceptional measures" to save the Euro.
Most commentators took that to mean the European Bank will start buying treasury bonds in an effort to save the two struggling heavyweights, Spain and Italy. But the editorial points out that the varying market values of national bonds undermine the fundamental principles of the single currency, and there is no reason to believe that the speculators who profit from these variations are suddenly going to stop.
Still on money matters, Le Monde's economics supplement asks if the Paris Stock Exchange is on its last legs. Hammered by the financial crisis, along with a poor reputation outside France and unclear standards on financial regulation, the Paris Bourse is being abandoned by both big businesses and individual investors.
Le Monde warns, however, that alternative equity sources, such as private banks and investment firms, are in no position to fill the well-heeled shoes of the bourse, mainly because the exchange is the major source of the finance that fuels the French economy.