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French press review 30 September 2013

Only one international story makes this morning's French front pages... the rest are resolutely parochial.

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The exception is communist L'Humanité, which looks to Greece and offers to explain how the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn movement managed to infiltrate the state machine in Athens.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

The facts, according to L'Humanité, are that Golden Dawn is a murderous paramilitary organisation which managed to get 18 members into parliament in the 2012 Greek elections. The group's extreme right ideas are, says the communist paper, widely supported in Greek political circles.

Which brings me to Le Monde and the great fear among French political commentators that the far-right Front National (FN) is going to do extremely well in local elections next March.

The Socialist majority expects to get the stuffing knocked out of it in the municipal elections because French voters traditionally give the sitting government a slap at mid-term and the current government is not universally loved.

The main conservative opposition, the UMP, is so internally divided that it is unlikely to mount a very coherent challenge.

So that leaves centre stage to the very coherent, not to say simplistic, policies of the Front National on such crucial questions as employment, state finances, the euro, foreigners.

A bad performance by the Socialists in the March local elections will be one thing; a huge advance by the FN in the June European elections would be far more serious.

Right-wingLe Figaro casts a glance at the United States, which currently finds itself on the brink of yet another fiscal cliff as Republicans and Democrats bicker over the financing of President Obama's health-care plan. If the deadlock persists, there'll be no money to run federal agencies like the tax office, the housing bureau, public museums after midnight tonight. There will be no money to pay 800,000 civil servants.

But the main interest for Le Figaro is to blame a French minister for the crisis in housing.

Cécile Duflot, for it is she, has been much in the news of late, having had a public row with Interior Minister Manuel Valls about whether or not it is politically correct to tell Roma people to go home. Now, according to Le Figaro, Duflot is single-handedly responsible for the deepening of problems in the French housing secto and should be sacked.

Interactive map of France

Le Figaro bases this stirring call on a study by a chain of estate agents, which shows that French investors are being scared out of the second-hand market by the policies of the housing minister.

No fewer than 81,000 properties have been left on agency shelves by buyers nervous at what they consider to be anti-property laws . . . there's a new tax on profits over 50,000 euros when you sell a property, for example, and that's not good for business. Worse, says Figaro, Duflot is scaring owners out of the rental market and thus making life even more difficult for the very people the housing minister is supposed to be helping.

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