French press review 20 October 2012
The Merah terrorism affair, foreigners' voting rights and the economic competitiveness report written by French Investment Commissioner Louis Gallois make it the front pages today.
The gunman went on a shooting rampage in March, in the southern cities of Toulouse and Montauban, killing a rabbi, three Jewish children and three French paratroopers. That was before he was shot dead in a police siege.
The leaked documents obtained by the paper show that French intelligence services curtailed supervision of Merah, a few months before his shooting spree, despite his known links to Islamist groups.
Libération vents its frustrations over the government’s retreat on the issue of voting rights for foreigners. That was one of President François Hollande’s main campaign promises, according to Libé.
Despite holding a comfortable majority in both the upper and lower houses of parliament, the left-leaning paper says, Hollande has opted to push back a vote on the sensitive reform until 2014 as he fears it being repudiated by lawmakers and his electorate.
Le Figaro managed to obtain an advanced copy of a report written by the former head of European aerospace group EADS Louis Gallois to boost the competitiveness of the economy. Gallois was commissioned by the Socialist government and the conservative newspaper is excited about Gallois’s proposal of a 30-billion-euro reduction in corporate contributions in order to boost on the economy.
Gallois had been due to submit the report to the government in July but his suggestion that France needed a "shock", including the slashing of payroll levies by as much as 50 billion euros has sparked union outrage, according to Le Figaro.
His idea is to shift a part of the tax burden on to workers by increasing the so-called General Social Contribution levy which helps fund the social security system. The leak has forced Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault into a damage control posture. According to Le Figaro, he has hinted that the measure will not be a shock but "part of a holistic plan spread out over two to three years, if it is adopted by the cabinet".
Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France looks into the tobacco lobby. The paper found out that cigarette manufacturers are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that people keep smoking, despite the anti-tobacco campaign’s determination to keep raising cigarette prices and hitting smokers directly in the pocket.
La Croix explores the ravages caused by the massive pull-out of public services from the French countryside. In a 15-day ride around France the Catholic daily met 10 people struggling to breathe life back into rural France.