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French weekly magazines review

The big story in this week’s press is about Leonarda Dibrani, the 15 year-old schoolgirl from Kosovo whose deportation from France caused an uproar last week, one that has rocked the government and exposed the country to ridicule over the time and attention it dedicated to the matter.

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“Hollande thrown off by the Romanis”, headlines Le Canard Enchaîné, as the satirical weekly exposes the ravages of the so-called Leonarda psycho drama on the President, the Prime Minister’s office and the interior ministry.

“The five days that ruined President Hollande’s image” is how Le Nouvel Observateur describes the affair. The left-leaning weekly explains in a dossier how President Hollande fabricated the media-bomb that exploded in his own face and why he gave into Interior Minister Manuel Valls’ demands who was reportedly threatening to resign.

In the end, François Hollande opted for an odd arbitration, explained the magazine, saying that the girl could return to France to pursue her education but without her family, reasserting the obligation of all to respect the law. The half-baked decision was meant to ease the tensions and stop the student unions from causing an academic shut down but was seen as ridiculously inappropriate.

L’Express publishes an open letter it addresses to Leonarda. “You deserve an excuse from France”, writes the right-leaning weekly, “for being forced out of a school bus and handed over to the police”. It also implores the girl’s indulgence with President Hollande’s clumsy offer and observes that while she may feel humiliated, the proposal also hurt public opinion in France.

According to L’Express, the expulsion of Leonarda’s family was legal and necessary as France can’t afford to welcome economic refugees when its accounts are in the red.

Marianne investigates how the Left basically shot itself in the foot in this affair, describing the dramatic events surrounding the girl’s expulsion as a “carnival of hypocrites”. The left wing weekly also wonders how the Green party members within the government, who branded the automatic expulsions of Romanis as inhuman, can accept to continue working with this administration.

Le Point satirizes about “Hollande and his nonsensical Left”, and criticizes the President for his habit of confusing presidential authority with daily life experiences.

For the right-wing magazine, every time President Hollande hesitates or makes a move, no one can tell if it is a calculated move, a gesture of kindness, or an act of procrastination. This uncertainty, says the magazine, leaves many French people with the impression that there is a vacuum at the helm of the state.

L’Express takes a look at the French declining purchasing power and how they have learned to maintain their standards of living while cunning about spending.

Thanks to the Internet in particular, says the magazine, the French have learned to look for good deals and have rediscovered the joys of sharing, trading, and thus have managed to preserve their comfort of living, even during a financial crisis.

Le Nouvel Observateur also takes a look on the brighter side of life and publishes a list of professions it claims are source of happiness. The lucky ones are nurses, farmers, shopkeepers and civil servants. The survey, which was led by the Viavoice poll institute, found out that despite all the claims that France is becoming the most pessimistic country in the world, 73 percent of French workers say they enjoy their work places and their jobs.

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