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French press review 17 August 2012

The controversy surrounding the dismantling of Roma camps in France, rocketing global grain prices and the alarming shortage of emergency housing in France are the main issues making headlines in Friday’s national dailies.

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“Romas: Government caught in a trap,” headlines Le Figaro. According to the conservative newspaper, it is “contemptuous and a big lie” to say that France can offer housing and jobs to these illegal immigrants.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Such measures will not just encourage massive Roma immigration to France but also create more discrimination against undocumented foreigners and provoke the anger of elected officials and citizens already traumatised by having to live with people whose lifestyles differ fundamentally from theirs, it says. There is little room for action and effective solutions to the problem can only be found at European Union level, according to Le Figaro.

L’Humanité regrets there is no one picking up the phone when you dial 115, the distress telephone number, in case of housing emergency. The Communist Party daily exposes the plight of scores of social workers in the city of Rouen who can’t find a place to live as they face a “no-rest season” treating thousands of elderly citizens during the summer heat wave.

Drought is the major issue of concern for Libération this Friday, especially as it threatens global grain production. The left-leaning newspaper points to the sharp rise and speculation on grain prices in the United States due to poor crop harvests. Spiralling cost of cereals will only render the poorest countries more fragile, according to Libé, especially those across west Africa which were rocked by hunger riots in 2008.

Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France relays a national alert issued by the national weather forecaster Météo France inviting elderly citizens and parents to take care as it predicts a heatwave across France next week.

Les Echos welcomes the government’s decision to go easy on measures that would have cost French businesses money in order to protect jobs. The economic newspaper reports that the cabinet has decided to raise the minimum wage by 1.5 points instead of 1.6 as earlier announced.

According to the paper, while the measure is set to create a budget shortfall of 3.3 billion euros, it will enable private enterprises to avoid the worst.

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L’Humanité examines the mounting tensions in the Middle East as the Syrian conflict worsens. The paper accuses the “fire-breathers” of the opposition UMP party who are calling for more reckless interference, bombing campaigns and military interventions in total disregard of international law.

Such senseless rhetoric will not redeem the UMP’s political fortunes and will only contribute to hardening the stance of Russia and China against any concerted solution to the Syrian crisis, the paper comments.

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