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French press review 30 November 2012

Has there been a breakthrough in the search for HIV-Aids treatements? Can the governmetn save the Florange steelworks? Can Sarkozy save the UMP? And who can afford to live in Paris?


We begin with a breakthrough in the search of treatment for HIV-Aids reported by Aujourd’hui en France after a French laboratory's announcement that it hasdiscovered a promising therapeutic vaccine.

According to the paper, the Genopole research team based in the Parisian suburb of Evry, said it was ready to start testing the toxoid on patients as soon as January 2013.

Libération welcomes the overwhelming vote by the UN General Assembly on Thursday, to make Palestine a non-member state of the world body.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

The future of the Florange steelworks in eastern France is a major issue of attention in the papers today, as time runs out on a deadline set by ArcelorMittal for the French government to find a new buyer by Saturday.

Aujourd’hui en France explains that France has threatened to take over the plant if ArcelorMittal goes ahead with plans to permanently close two blast furnaces on the site. Laurence Parisot, the head of the Medef employers' union, slams the proposed state takeover of a private company as “scandalous”.

For L’Humanité it is the “government’s hour of truth”, the Communist Party daily pointing to its determination to use forceful means if necessary.

Le Figaro claims that the ultimatum set by ArcelorMittal "leaves the government’s nationalisation plan in turbulent waters”. It claims that, despite Medef’s hostility of the temporary nationalisation of Florange, there is strong support for the plan - 80 per cent of President François Hollande’s electorate and 56 per cent of French citizens - by industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg, according to a survey carried out by the polling agency Opinionway.

Aujourd’hui en France predicts long negotiations running late into Saturday night. The economic newspaper Les Echos holds that while the Elysée is in search of a face-saving strategy, after the unexpected ultimatum, a compromise on the future of Florange is possible.

Le Figaro also has an update on the latest twist to the ongoing leadership war rocking the opposition UMP party. The paper reports that ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy met again with Jean-Francois Copé, proclaimed winner of the disputed vote, as he tries a new mediation initiative. He is testing the ground on a new proposal for the holding of UMP referendum now supported by 80 per cent of the party’s members, according to the right-wing newspaper.

Aujourd’hui en France profiles a list of dignitaries playing the role of "blue helmet" in the dispute, explaining how they have helped restore dialogue between the belligerents.

Libération reports a huge crack that has appeared in the middle of the UMP wall, caused by moderate members, disgusted by Copé's blind ambition.

The unprecedented crisis rocking the French real estate sector is Libération front page story this Friday. The paper explains that the meltdown is on all floors, as transactions and home sales remain paralysed, buyers and sellers unwilling to reconcile their interests.

According to Libé, new home sales fell by 20 per cent in the third quarter of 2012 in the Paris region and 24 per cent nation-wide, despite a persisting high demand for housing spanning 15 years. The paper blames the trend on greedy owners. Libération found out that a square metr eof land in Paris costs 8,440 euros, the same piece of land selling at 12,520 euros in the posh 6th arrondissement of the capital.

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