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French press review 19 January 2012

Unemployment is the word dominating this morning's front pages, followed by "hypocrisy", "clash" and "urgent".


You'll know that president Sarkozy yesterday met what are politely called "the social partners" - trade union leaders and the bosses - with a view to hammering out some new policies to get the French working again.

At 2.85 million, the number of jobless people in France is at a 12-year high. Hence the urgency.

Right-wing Le Figaro celebrates the outcome of yesterday's meeting, saying the president has promised to find 430 million euros with which to create jobs.

Never mind the fact that there's something profoundly illogical about spending public money to create employment. Thriving economies are what create jobs, not emergency meetings.

Communist L'Humanité says yesterday's summit was pure window-dressing, a low bow to the electorate, which completely ignored the key question of the so-called social sales tax.

This is the idea of shifting the burden of social security from the employers to the consumers, on the basis that jobs are scarce in France because it costs too much to employ people.

But the unions think the Sarkozy government is lining up another multi-million euro gift for Sarko's rich friends, at the expense of the struggling masses who will have to pay more for everything.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

Some economists wonder at the logic of putting an additional strain on the wallets of the consumer, when said wallets are supposed to be the source of the cash needed to kick-start the economy.

And if the new sales tax fails to bring in sufficient revenue, how will the huge overspending on social security ever be brought under control.

The president is to explain all in a televised address at the end of the month.

Catholic La Croix looks at the relationship between French people and the media.

The French take their news seriously, with 71% of those questioned saying they are greatly interested by the information they get from their radios, tellies and newspapers.

And radio leads the field for dependability, with 58% believing that things are more or less accurately reported on the wireless.

Looking at last year's big news events, most people questioned felt that the Durban climate summit had not received sufficient coverage, while the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair had received far too much.

But, the DSK story saw sales of Libération rocket by 120%. Even sober Le Monde sold 55% more papers at the height of the New York scandal.

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