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French press review 20 June 2011

A mixed bag in the French papers today, with euros, planes, greens, and north Africa featuring on the Monday pages...


Le Figaro gives pride of place to Greece, and yet another plan to save Athens, along with the rest of the Eurozone, from bankruptcy.

This time, the idea is to put the squeeze on the private sector, with a view to re-establishing long-term stability, and convincing investors that they're not throwing their ill-gottens into a black hole.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

The European finance ministers met at the weekend to decide if they should pay the next instalment of the 110 billion euro loan, which was agreed last year to save the Greeks from going under.

The government in Athens is busily trying to privatise everything from the Acropolis to Zeno's Paradox, and the population is protesting, ever more violently.

If the latest plan doesn't work, Greece will go bankrupt next month. Always assuming that the country doesn't completely go up in flames.

Business daily Les Echos is happy to announce the opening today, near Paris, of the Bourget International Air Show . . . billed as a face-off between the industry heavyweights, Boeing and Airbus.

The stakes are high. There are currently 20,000 planes with more than 100 seats in operation worldwide. That number is expected to double over the next twenty years.

Boing would seem to have the upper hand for the moment, since they'll be launching their 747 super-jumbo at the Paris show, even if it comes three years later than promised and has excited little enthusiasm among buyers.

Airbus have their own problems, having postponed the launch of the A380 until they can design engines sufficiently powerful to get the whole job off the ground.

Libération suggests that Airbus is winning the orders battle because the European aircraft consume 15 per cent less fuel than the US gas-guzzlers. Since they don't have any engines, the A380s are a steal, in these days of mounting oil prices.

And then there's north Africa, with Le Monde giving the front-page honours to Morocco's King Mohammed VI and his plan to save the monarchy by giving more power to the parliament.

The political parties are, broadly, pleased at the proposed reforms. The rank-and-file rebels are less than gruntled, saying that street protests will continue until the king takes a hike and leaves the business of government to the government.

Dossier: Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution

Catholic La Croix looks at the political spectrum across north Africa, from Tunisia where popular rebellion seems to have worked, to Algeria where the liberalisation promised in Morocco could provoke a backlash by the authoritarian state machine.

Le Monde looks at plans by the London newspaper, The Guardian, to put the emphasis on its internet version, and reduce the paper paper to a slim collection of long reports, in-depth analysis and comment articles.

The paper lost 37 million euros last year, and has seen its readership reduced by 31 per cent.

Libération gives its front page to a dispute between Ecology candidates to decide who will carry the green flag into the next presidential election here in France.

It's a storm in a tea-cup, of course, since neither of the contenders . . . Eva Joly and Nicolas Hulot . . . have a fart's chance in a gas fire of getting through the first round.

As the Libé editorial points out, it's a pity that the greens, from whom we expect nothing less than the saving of the planet, have been unable to avoid the scourge of internal strife and small-scale personal politicking.

The individuals involved do themselves no good at all, and they seriously undermine the serious cause they are supposed to represent.

In sharp contrast, the communists have agreed on a single candidate for 2012. His name, in case you're wondering, is Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

He hasn't a snowball's hope in hell either, but at least the comrades don't prolong the agony. They choose their loser without too much fuss. The Socialist Party could do with a touch of the same sort of pragmatism.

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