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French press review 28 August 2012

Today’s two main stories are Industrial Renewal M inister Arnaud Montebourg’s comments about nuclear being the energy of the future and the jobless rate in France. And there's continuing controversy over France's treatement of Roma travellers.


On left-leaning Libération’s front page there is a cartoon of Montebourg encased in a cooling tower holding a flag with the radiation symbol on it. The paper devotes three pages to the nuclear question.

Parliamentary elections 2012

An article entitled “Nuclear, the sector of the future…question mark?” opens with the question, which way should France take given that it has 58 reactors and draws 75 per cent of its electricity from those reactors?

The article then reflects on the experiences of other nations that rely heavily on nuclear. The emphasis is on the fact that, from Bulgaria to Japan, countries are scaling back on nuclear projects.

The conclusion is that because France wants to lead the world in fourth generation reactors, then it must continue on its nuclear path into the future.

Les Echos declares the rate of unemployment in France as being “almost an emergency”.
France, the paper declares, looks set to reach the symbolic figure of three million unemployed by the end of September. There has been a steady but consistent rise in the number of people seeking unemployment benefits since 2009, according to the economic daily.

On page four there are three graphs charting the employment trends here in France. Interestingly, one of the graphs shows how unemployment manifests itself in the different age groups within the labour market.

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From 2009 the numbers of unemployed over-50s overtook people in the 25-and-under category. There are almost a million over-50s out of work, whereas among the under-25s the figure is 25 per cent less at 671,000.

What’s not clear from the graphics, however, is what percentage of young people are employed on short term contracts.

Communist l’Humanité embraces the plight of Roma. These are semi-nomadic, brown-skinned people, mostly of Romanian nationality, whose origins are believed to be in India .
Seventy two people were evicted from their camp in Evry just outside Paris yesterday, the paper reports and its headline declares the eviction was done quickly and badly.

The article quotes Interior Minister Manuel Valls as saying the camp needed dismantling because of “the sanitary situation”.

Most of the people have been rehoused. But this is hardly likely to silence critics of the Socialist government’s move. Instead, even the opposition UMP, the paper points out, has used this latest incident to win political points.

They publish a tweet by the head of the youth wing of former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP, Mehdy Mikkiche, which declares that the Roma are “humans, not vermin”.

I wonder what Mikkiche was tweeting when Sarkozy’s government sent thousands of Roms back to Romania?

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