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French press review 4 June 2011

Saturday’s French dailies are dominated by a congress of French Greens and growing concerns about drought across the country.


“Daniel Cohn-Bendit slams ecologists’ election strategy”, headlines Le Monde.

The newspaper explain why the MEP isn’t attending the first-ever joint congress of environmentalist parties Europe Ecology and the Greens at La Rochelle this Saturday. Cécile Duflot is set to be elected as the movement’s National Secretary.

The paper claims that Cohn-Bendit is “sulking”, because the alliance snubbed his proposal that the leadership contest be determined through primaries.

That’s the view upheld by La Montagne.The regional paper comments, that Madame Duflot is unimpressed by his grumbling, enjoying the calm before the storm, and dreaming about a new free and independent Green Party.

Le Figaro also holds that Duflot is savouring her victory over Cohn-Bendit, her eyes now focussed on 2014 when she plans to run for the office of mayor in Paris

La Montagne also points out that the political winds could change course and blow in Cohn-Bendit’s direction, come 2012.

It notes however that Duflot is right to set lofty goals such as ridding France of nuclear power, oil-driven energy and carbon dioxide while promoting cleaner energies that create green jobs and lifestyles.

L'Est Républicain takes Daniel Cohn-Bendit to task for boycotting the Greens unity congress, pointing out that he will miss the presidential contest between Nicolas Hulot and Eva Joly.

The maverick and “self-proclaimed godfather of May 1968” has forgotten the “slogan of his youthful days”, writes the paper, which rules that by staying away Dany acted like a “rascal and a poor loser”.

Aujourd’hui en France/Le Parisien analyses new poll figures which suggest a face lift to President Nicholas Sarkozy.

The president’s disastrous ratings improved by two percentage points in June climbing to 22 per cent with up to 76 per cent of polled citizens still fired up against his policies, according to the latest TNS-Sofres survey.

The popular Parisian newspaper wonders if Sarkozy can bounce back after a concerted effort to fix his image. There are no guarantees it can, given that the surge remains insignificant, it says.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

Libération headlines on an unprecedented drought that has caused panic on French farms.

The left-leaning newspaper reports that water is being rationed in 60 regions, more than half of France’s departments.

Experts told the newspaper that climate conditions are worse that the terrible drought experienced in 1976.

Agronomists attribute the blame not just to water shortages but also on outdated farm production techniques.

Meteorologists predict some good rain fall as soon as next week. Libération, however, warns that the scrambled response to the crisis could still spark a speculation bubble on farm products.

Several regional papers take up the child abuse scandal involving an unidentified minister which has landed celebrity philosopher Luc Ferry in trouble.

Libération reports that he was questioned by the police child protection brigade here in Paris on Friday, about the allegations that a former minister molested boys at a Moroccan orgy, which senior figures, at the time, covered up.

Ferry now says he has no specific proof that a sex crime took place.

Le Figaro which first broke the scandal revealed today that an ex-intelligence chief who allegedly reported the abuse to his superiors could be called up to help in the investigations.

The shock claim came as France engaged in soul-searching about the behaviour of its allegedly chauvinist political elite, in the wake of two scandals - the rape charges facing Dominique Strauss-Kahn in New York and sexual abuse allegations which forced the resignation of Georges Tron, the junior public service minister.

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