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French press review 6 July 2015

The Greek people spoke on Sunday and it was a massive "oxi", or no, by 60 per cent of the electorate to the demands of its creditors.


Zeus’ 'No' headlines Libération. The left-leaning publication says that the Greeks followed the clarion appeal launched by their Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and on Sunday massively refused to swallow the conditions laid down by its creditors to rescue the country from bankruptcy.

It’s an earthquake that plunges the European Union into a period of uncertainty, according to Libération.

As thousands of people celebrate the victory of the 'No' camp in the referendum, Le Parisien reports about jubilation in Spain by the leftist Podemos party as opposed to anger in Germany, custodians of financial orthodoxy in Europe. The country’s finance minister Sigmar Gabriel wasted no time to denounce the Greek premier of having blown up the last bridges between his country and Europe.

Le Monde says Europe’s future is being played out in Athens. Historical background to the Greek crisis starts from the genesis of the great romance with Brussels that culminated in the Yes referendum to European membership down to Sunday night when Athens moved to the brink of a Grexit. That’s an expression coined by Greco-skeptics to describe the unfolding tragedy.

The special supplement is complete with accounts of the nightmare experienced by Greece’s new impoverished. Le Monde exposes faces of the new black market flourishing in Athens, the widespread culture of clientelism, and corruption compounded by the failures of politicians which have left vultures like the French Front National party lurking around and desperate to exploit the Greek tragedy to fuel their campaign to take France out of the EU.

La Croix explains why it is imperative to continue the odyssey with Athens, and why French President François Hollande must veto any motion seeking Greece’s expulsion from the eurozone and the EU.

Greece takes great steps toward an exit from the euro, headlines Le Figaro. According to the paper, the hour has come to clarify what Greece plans to do with the key demands set by its creditors starting with the further cuts prescribed by the Troika on pension schemes which consume 17 per cent of Greece’s gross domestic product.

Le Figaro also recalls their prescription of value-added tax (VAT) hikes for the tourism sector from the current 6 per cent to 13 per cent, and an increase of 10 per cent on VAT levies for the restaurant industry as well a deep slash of the country’s budget from 26 to 28 per cent.

The creditors' demands set growth benchmarks of a basic budget surplus of 3.5 per cent of the GDP outside its debt-servicing charges by 2018, if Greece is to continue benefitting from any further servicing of its 232-billion-euro debt burden.

For Le Figaro, Hollande is busy trying to avert Greece’s exit from the euro   a position supported by his left-leaning majority but not by the right-wing opposition which would rather do without Greece in the eurozone.

The conservative publication however believes the creditors could still try to limit the damage as the Grexit is in a new round of talks. But it wonders if there are any prospects of cutting a deal with Alexis Tsipras, who it brands as nothing more than a left-wing extremist in prime minister’s clothing.

And for L’Humanité enough is enough. The Communist party daily says that despite the blackmail of the terror strategy and threats of financial strangulation by the loan sharks and eurocrats, the Greeks stood their ground. From L’Humanité’s point of view, the survival of the euro is incompatible with the policies of the ex–troika and the message from the ballot box needs to be respected as it brings a refreshing breeze of liberty and dignity to the people of Europe.

And from the road of the Tour de France, L’Equipe measures the ravages of the first storms on the passionate 166km second stage from Utrecht to Zeeland in the Netherlands. The sports daily says it was marked by cross winds and crashes involving Colombian Nairo Quintana, Italian Vincenzo Nibali and French hopeful Thibault Pinot, which left them losing a minute to two-time winner Alberto Contador and the 2013 champion Chri Froome.

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