French press review 5 September 2012
Rising energy costs, criticism of the Prime Minister and a Paralympics sponsor accused of discriminating against the disabled are making headlines in France.
In France, it appears there are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and electricity price rises.
The front page of business daily Les Echos reports the French parliament will start discussing proposals which would mean that individual energy users would pay for gas and electricity on the basis of their consumption and what is being called "the household profile" - in other words, how well-off you are.
The proposals are likely to make a lot of people unhappy, and will, according to Les Echos, be extremely difficult to put into practice.
The price of cigarettes is also going up by 40 cents per pack at the start of next month, with further price hikes promised.
The space left for the brand name will be greatly reduced, while a study group will look at expanding no-smoking zones.
The Catholic paper La Croix reports that 85 per cent of the French are in favour of severe legal penalties to punish those guilty of racist statements.
The right wing newspaper Le Figaro says the French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayerault, is not doing a good job and has failed to impose his authority, even within his own party. The paper is calling for him to make clear decisions and assert control. However, Ayerault has only been in the job for 110 days, with most of that time taken up by the summer holidays.
The daily Le Monde carries a story on the Paralympic Games in London being sponsored by, among others, the French information technology company Atos. In contrast to the strictly controlled Olypmic Games, Paralympic sponsors are allowed to advertise directly.
However, Atos are little loved by many people with disabilities in the UK since the company administers the tests to determine the amount of disability benefit paid to an individual. Authorities anxious to reduce spending have been accused of carrying out biased tests with Atos' help to force many people out of benefit.
The UK's Citizens Advice Bureau says 40 per cent of the Atos results are overturned every year on legal appeal. Last year, 1,100 people who were forced to return to work following Atos-administered tests died from their handicap.
The company has branches in 48 countries and is run by Thierry Breton, a former French Finance Minister under President Jacques Chirac.