Article published the Friday 07 December 2012 - Latest update : Friday 07 December 2012

French press review 7 December 2012

By Marjorie Hache

Things are rather doom and gloom in the French papers and it's all against a white back drop because the first of the season's snow has arrived.

In the east of France where a local union leader has declared war on steel multinational ArcelorMittal and French Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault.

Le Monde writes that many in the French steel industry feel Ayrault betrayed the workers at the Florange blast furnaces, that were threatened with closure and supposedly saved by a government sponsored deal with Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal. But the company appears to have pulled out of the European Union project Ulcos which could have provided jobs for many of the Florange workers.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Local union official Edouard Martin declared Thursday that the government was also an enemy of the workers. He couldn't believe that the situation has become worse than under Nicolas Sarkozy, he said.

Libération criticises Jean-Marc Ayrault's lack of control over the situation.

Martin wants to ask President François Hollande "what his conscience is like at the moment". The works is going to be occupied but workers are keeping an eye out in case the gas is turned off.

Libération reports that 30-odd regions of France will today be hit by snow and ice. Some places are expected to see 40-60 centimetres of snowfall. This is bringing back memories of winter 2010 when trains and planes across Europe were brought to a standstill because of the weather, writes the paper. Le Figaro is also leading with the snow, focusing particularly on the north of France.

La Croix, meanwhile, reports that politicians from both right and left are backing Budget Minister Jérôme Cahuzac, who has been accused of tax fraud by the website Médiapart. The website allegedly has a recording of the minister saying he has or had accounts in Switzerland and pondering how to shut them down. The recording is said to date back to the year 2000.

Talking of tax avoidance, communist L'Humanité has a piece on how Amazon will receive three million euros in subsidies for setting up a plant in the Burgundy region but doesn't pay any tax. The online bookshop owes over 200 million euros in back taxes but 2,500 jobs are also going to to be created in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region.

Amazon conducts its operation from Brussels. This means it only declares a 110-million-euro profit when the real figure is closer to 1.3 billion euros, l'Humanité. The French state doesn't even receive any VAT from the company.

And to finish on a positive note, La Croix is also interested in France's 26th Telethon.

The TV charity fundraiser which is taking place all this weekend will fund research into various genetic illnesses.

Yes, get ready for some tearjerking TV.

tags: ArcelorMittal - Employment - France - French press review - Jean-Marc Ayrault - Press review - Trade unions
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