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French weekly magazines review

The big issue in the press this week is whether President François Hollande is capable of delivering on his offer of a responsibility pact to the nation.


Background reading: Previous French scandals

It’s been two weeks since Hollande unveiled his economic road map. In his proposal he brandishes 30 billion euros in tax credits over three years to labour-intensive firms, in exchange for the hiring of more employees. This came on the heels of announcements about making a fundamental reform to the tax system, a review of generous unemployment benefits, a drive to simplify regulations and a new body to scrutinize the effectiveness of state spending. While corporate chiefs are lining up to welcome the pact, few of the national weeklies are buying the offer.

Right-wing Le Figaro Magazine brands it as “a trap to the opposition”. L’Express dismisses it with a “Sorry, too late” and Le Point advices the conservative opposition to hold him to his word, since he won’t have the time to deliver on all his promises.
Le Nouvel Observateur doubts that Hollande is still a Socialist. It notes that the new deal is not about his political inclination but about his style of action. “It’s a question of confidence”, says Marianne, adding that the success of the reform will depend on the establishment of a basic consensus by the French people. According to the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné, it was Moody’s plans to downgrade France’s credit rating that forced President Hollande into this responsibility pact.

“Give back the money now”. That’s the title of Le Point’s cover story. The right-wing weekly lists what it describes as the most delirious lines of public spending President Hollande should take note of. Social security, “the sacred milking cow” that swallows almost half of public expenditure is on top of the to-do list.

The magazine regrets that a lot of squandering is taking place at the Banque de France with its 13,000 employees, at the City of Paris, where Socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoe recruited 10,000 workers in 12 years and in France’s obese public service which wallops 57 percent of France’s GDP every year.

Le Point also salutes the arrival of a woman to save the Central African Republic. According to the journal, Catherine Samba-Panza’s urgent mission is to put an end to the civil war. A diplomat tells the right-wing newspaper that Samba-Panza does not come from Bangui’s crocodile-infested political lake, she has a pragmatic vision and the political will to get the country back on its feet.

Marianne underlines that 59 year-old Samba-Panza is the first women ever to rule a French-speaking African country since independence.

Le Nouvel Observateur zooms in on a miracle happening in Ethiopia, as the former symbol of humanitarian distress posted a 10-percent economic growth rate in 2013. According to the weekly, the key to the miracle is Addis Ababa’s unique experience of state capitalism that has enabled the country to construct 45,000 kms of roads in 5 years, a series of power plants on the Blue Nile while targeting 4,700 kms of railway lines by 2017. The country has become a global construction hub and the preferred destination for businessmen, and the authorities in Addis Ababa are determined to turn Ethiopia into an industrial country in ten years.

If you are a victim of professional exhaustion, then you may be suffering from “burn out”. So says L’Express about the modern disease it claims affects everyone, from nurses to teachers to policemen, to entrepreneurs and everyone else stretched to the limit at their places of work. L’Express says it happens so suddenly that people hardly realize when they contracted the condition. It writes that companies are now conscious of this ailment affecting up to 10 percent of their workforce and are taking steps to deal with it.


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