French weekly magazines review
The French government’s fiscal policies continue to attract harsh comments from the main publications this week.
This is after the Socialist-dominated parliament passed the 2013 budget, giving a nod to the EU golden rule mechanism, the main opposition UMP party voting massively for the deficit control mechanism championed during their time in power. That hasn’t stopped them from deriding the government’s taxation plans that aim to meet the three per cent deficit objective.
According to Le Canard Enchaîné, the government’s fiscal scheme is dreaded by business chiefs. The president of the bosses' union, Medef, Laurence Parisot describes the new financial law as a lethal potion, which will end up unleashing a devastating storm that will throw the country and businesses straight into a recession.
“Tax hikes and fiscal discontent,” headlines Le Figaro Magazine as it measures the rising temperature of tax-payers and entrepreneurs outraged by the record levels of levies imposed . The right-wing publication holds that the increase slapped on corporate earnings 4clearly exposes the government as being anti-business.
Le Figaro regrets that President François Hollande has remained silent over the raging debate on the budget calling it a further sign of weakness and indecision.
Le Canard Enchaîné attacks the hypocrisy of the opposition, as UMP attack dogs complain that noone is being spared by the fiscal hammer blow. The satirical weekly doesn’t understand how they could have so soon forgotten that Prime Minister François Fillon’s own austerity budget stood at 31 billion euros, just three billion short of the Socialists'.
This week’s Le Point is all about the "Hollande system", his working habits, pals and networks. The right-wing magazine has found out that he goes to his office at 8.30 every morning having read all the French newspapers. Hollande’s most influential advisers are said to differ fundamentally in character with a more opinionated outlook than the president’s, which raises questions about the one he listens to the most.
“What a messy situation,” headlines the left-leaning Marianne, listing the proliferation of gaffes characterising government business since Hollande came to power in May.
According to the magazine, the backpedalling that characterises government business is the clearest sign of a lack of authority at the helm of the state.
The new French leader is also facing a hard time breaking as promised with the Françafrique system that allowed France to make and unmake governments in its former colonies. The paper says that while Hollande is charting a new human rights course with France’s African partners, change is not for now.
Le Canard calls the policy shortfall “old style sycophancy”.
It questions the rationale behind Hollande’s invitation to King Mohamed VI of Morocco to visit Paris while opposition leaders and journalists remain in jail there.
Hollande’s wooing of Chadian strongman Idriss Déby is also questioned by Le Canard. Déby is a product of Françafrique and coup d’états but, the satirical weekly says, his desert war expertise is needed to take out the pro-Al Qaeda jihadists occupying northern Mali.
Le Canard Enchaîné also criticises Hollande for pursuing France’s close relationship with Blaise Compaoré, Burkina Faso’s long-serving military leader-turned civilian president.
He masterminded the 2002 coup d’état in Côte d’Ivoire, before ironically becoming the conflict’s mediator. He was received at the Elysée in July thanks to his networks, according to Le Canard, despite the fact that one of his advisers has an international warrant hanging over his head for providing logistical and financial support to terrorist groups in the Sahel.
L’Express runs excerpts from an interesting new book about the last days of the Sarkozy campaign in 2012. It is titled I can’t be bothered with this. The authors claim that the phrase was uttered by Sarkozy himself as he battled under great stress to redeem his fated presidency. The book makes stunning revelations about desperate moves by Sarkozy’s strategists which probably sealed his defeat.
Le Nouvel Observateur sets the stage for its coverage of the American presidential elections. The left-leaning magazine headlines on what it predicts will be a clash of two Americas on issues such as wealth-sharing, abortion and the death penalty.
It is total war says Le Nouvel Observateur. The world’s greatest democracy is more divided now than it has ever been, it claims, between Obama’s America and Romney country. The 37-page Special USA supplement is a journey across the America we love and the one that frightens us the most, according to the Le Nouvel Obs.