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French press review 21 May 2014

Given that practically everyone agrees that next weekend's European parliamentary elections are about as interesting as the life-cycle of pond slime, the persistence of French editors in giving said elections front-page prominence is hard to understand.


Catholic La Croix and conservative Le Figaro break the mould, looking at the world of work.

La Croix finds that seven European workers in 10 have to do homework. In other words, leaving the office is no guaranteed that the day's duties are done. More and more employees feel obliged to respond quickly to professional emails and calls, for fear of appearing lax.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Modern technology is mainly to blame but there's also the growing place taken up by the job in the lives of many Europeans. One side effect is what La Croix calls "the expanding office," with cafés, train stations and taxis all becoming part of the modern workplace.

Ironically, according to the Catholic paper, as the law has continued to limit the impact of work on the lives of employees, businesses, themselves facing tough competition, have reversed that tendency, informally demanding more of their staff.

More on this subject: No, it's not illegal to work after 6pm in France

At the other end of the jobs market, Le Figaro regrets the demise of domestic help here in France. Apparently, the economic crisis and endless increases in the social charges which all employers have to pay, have combined to force families to either sack the home help or, shock, horror, continue to employ said help, but without declaring them as employees. Which, of course, is bad news for the state coffers and does nothing to help the employment statistics.

Le Figaro's editorial excoriates what it calls "the French fiscal frenzy", that series of punitive tax measures imposed by left- and right-wing governments, which have forced households to cut spending and businesses to stop investing.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

Satirical weekly paper Le Canard Enchaîné suggests that the European elections need a boost to make them more sexy.

In the face of the "unspeakable boredom" inspired by the campaigns of the 28 French contending groups, Le Canard advises the addition of what they call the DSK factor, a reference to the former director of the International Monetary Fund, whose life-style has provoked a number of infamous clashes with a number of judiciaries.

Apart from the headline, Le Canard Enchaîné doesn't say anything about how the DSK factor would actually work, perhaps understandably, given how active the man's legal team has been recently.

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