Article published the Sunday 18 November 2012 - Latest update : Sunday 18 November 2012

French weekly magazines review

By William Niba

President François Hollande’s press conference on Tuesday was the top political story in France this week. The magazines are not just commenting about whether the Socialist leader has been reborn but also about the opportunity it offers the press to look back at six months of Hollande-bashing.

The government’s adoption of the Louis Gallois plan on bringing competitiveness to the French economy is hailed by the papers as the defining moment for the president.

The white paper recommends 30 billion euros in tax breaks for the industrial sector, which it says weighed down by the high cost of labour. Prior to the cabinet’s decision on the matter, some of the press was quick to deride the measures as a pill too bitter to swallow and a big political gamble for the tax and spend Socialist government.

Presidential election 2012

It was surely hell for the Socialist president as he faced the barrage of accusations about his lack of ambition and stature, claims Marianne. The left-leaning magazine seems to have forgotten its own diatribe about how Hollande has turned his back on the left-wing manifesto that took him to office.

Right-wing Le Point says the French people have become world experts in the “national sport of denial”. It is pushing the argument that the left is refusing to admit it has radically changed its agenda, while the right-wing opposition is not ready to accept the idea that that the government is moving in the right direction.

Le Canard Enchaîné says skipper Hollande has reset his compass for the “Elysée Globe”, a reference to the round-the-world single-handed Vendée Globe yacht race.

L’Express defends its editorial policy towards the Socialist leader claiming its “thermometer has been consistent”.

“Political analysis is not a matter of shifting problems,” it says. It further explains that criticising the left doesn’t mean blind support for the opposition UMP. To make its point, L’Express slams the former ruling party for being erratic, fratricidal and uninspiring as it has continued to dwell on the “relics” of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy’s achievements.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Le Nouvel Observateur publishes an edited photograph of the so-called “anti-Hollande crusaders”, who are “plotting to destroy” him.

According to the journal, they include UMP secretary Jean Francois Copé, Green Senator Vincent Placé and left front leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon. For the left-leaning weekly, they are sparing no effort to fan the anger of conservative France opposed to same-sex marriages, and voting rights for foreigners.

L’Express publishes a supplement that it claims sets the record straight about the real cost of immigration in France. The study covering areas such as the job market, social security and public health found out that net state gains from taxes and contributions by foreign nationals working in France amount to 3.8 billion euros annually.

The research contradicts the inflammatory declarations and polemics of right-wing politicians and advocates of the anti-immigration lobby, according to L’Express.

THE BATTLE FOR LIBYA

Le Canard Enchaîné scorns efforts by Libya’s new regime to recover Moamer Kadhafi’s hidden treasure, estimated at 68 billion euros, one quarter allegedly in cash.

Le Canard wishes them good luck. It says that the Global Witness NGO has traced some Kadhafi assets in French multinationals such as the Société Générale bank, Danone, Lagardère, Vivendi and the state energy giants EDF and GDF.

The satirical paper says a Libyan appeal to Interpol has fallen flat, Italy returning one billion euros, while France pledged to unblock a meager 230 million euros. Le Canard wonders if the money was sent to Tripoli by bank transfer or in cash.

tags: Economy - France - François Hollande - French press review - Libya - Moamer Kadhafi - Press review - Socialist Party - UMP
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