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French press review 7 June 2012

The restoration of the right to retire for 110,000 workers pleases the left and enrages the right. Socialists are red-faced over pot smoking. 

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Communist L'Humanité and conservative Le Figaro are both leading with the same story: retirement in France and as you can imagine they both have completely different stances on the matter.

L'Humanité reports that 110,000 people will benefit from the new measures. A first small step writes the paper, retirement for everyone by the age of 60 should be proposed to the National Assembly.

Under the previous government controversy occurred when it was announced the long-established retirement age of 60 was being pushed back to 62 so as to provide for the economy. Fellow European countries if not most of the world probably looked at this retirement age aghast.

L'Huma has welcomed the changes made by the new Socialist government, which now ensures that those who started working at 18 will get their retirement at 60. The paper also looks at the leftist Front de Gauche's idea on how to finance this youthful retirement.

They include a rise by one per cent of the taxes employers pay towards the retirement kitty. The party also suggests reversing tax rebates for bosses, which they say would provide the equivalent of three billion euros.

Le Figaro's response to this move is less than positive. This partial return to retirement by the age of 60 is seen as France turning its back on Europe. The right's UMP party is criticising what it calls a "gift to voters" four days ahead of the country's legislative elections and says the measures are a threat to businesses.

Parliamentary elections 2012

The paper says this will cost the government 1.1 billion euros by 2013 and three billion by 2017. Le Figaro also seems to think this will lead to less trust between France and its fellow European countries, specifically Germany. For the right, this move poses a real economic risk.

Over at left-leaning Libération, Economy Minister Pierre Moscovici says that they have no lessons to learn from the right, considering that outgoing prime minister François Fillon has left the country with an extra debt of 600 million euros. They are more concerned by what they refer to as the Socialist Party's "smoke out".

In a TV interview Housing Minister Cécile Duflot talked about the possibility of decriminalising cannabis, exciting mixed reactions across the political spectrum.

Libération believes the debate to be a poisonous one, especially as the country's parliamentary elections are just days away.

The paper looks at the failure repressive methods have had on countering addiction, the difference between decriminalising and legalising the drug, the health risks posed by smoking pot and of course the political disagreement on the topic in the Socialist Party.

Libération goes on to claim that legalising the drug could benefit the French economy to the tune of 832 million euros. Finally it looks at measures taken in Latin America to fight drugs.

We'll have to wait and see if the smoke from this debate will have cleared in time for the first round of France's parliamentary elections.

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