French press review 11 September 2012
This morning debates are raging across the French press.
There is one newspaper in France whose sales figures must be soaring. A day after the socialist daily insulted France’s richest man with “Sod off, rich bastard” and the “rich bastard” suing the daily, Libération dedicates another full front page to the owner of LVMH luxury empire. “If you come back, Bernard, all is forgiven”.
The debate provoked by the request for Belgian citizenship by the French billionaire, helps to fill the first seven pages of the daily. The various articles analyse the phenomenon of the “financial exile of the rich”.
Where do the rich go into exile? According to the paper, Switzerland, Belgium, Great Britain and the United States are the destinations of choice. How many rich families leave France every year? Not even the Ministry of Finance has the precise numbers, regrets the paper.
Interestingly, even the socialist daily concedes that the new tax measures announced by President François Hollande, could lead to an increase in exiles. It quotes an anonymous banker saying that “everybody is leaving… The richest retirees go to Switzerland and Belgium, those who still work and make millions go to the UK".
L’Humanité gives its front page to the Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz. “Austerity is a disaster”, says the economist in an exclusive interview to the communist daily. Stiglitz considers that Europe is going down the tubes because of the policy of hardship. Each time this kind of policy has been implemented, it has led to a failure, according to the former Chief Economist of the World bank. In the interview, Stiglitz blasts what he calls “democracy under the heel of the richest one per cent”.
He says that the citizen-vote principle has been transformed into dollar-vote principle. “In the last decades, all the increases in wealth went to the top of the social ladder”, says the economist. If you want to find out more about this, read the interview in L’Humanité and read Stiglitz’s last book, “The price of inequality”.
Another French debate at the moment is the issue of homosexual marriage. And it is the Catholic daily La Croix, which is carrying the heavy cross of opposing the legislation despite the mainly favourable public opinion.
Today, it features an exclusive interview with the French Justice Minister, Christine Taubira. The religious and anthropological objections, says the minister, cannot over ride the need for equality. In her interview, the minister also announces that homosexual couples will be able to adopt children according to exactly the same criteria as heterosexual couples.
In its' editorial, entitled “A rush”, the Catholic daily questions the desire and the promise of the socialist government to hold a public debate on the issue of homosexual marriage. “The bill seems to have advanced greatly during the summer… This haste is regrettable and gives an impression that the government is trying to sideline opponents and avoid truly democratic debate”, accuses the paper’s editor.