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French press review 1 September 2015


A warning is issued over a looming school failure as the new year reopens without European and bilingual classes. The new 70-euro Navigo pass ends a nightmare for struggling families; and French teenager Anthony Martial lands an 80-million-euro Manchester United contract.


Ahead of the start of the new school year, Le Figaro wonders what the standards in French schools will be as the Socialist government introduces a reform scrapping the European and bilingual classes for junior high schools on grounds of elitism.

The conservative newspaper says that what is most painful to teachers, parents and the unions is the removal of Latin and German as core subjects. The journal argues that the ideological motivations behind the reform are only likely to bring more inequalities in the French classroom. In its editorial Le Figaro says it is time to put an end to the inequitable system in the Socialist single public school system.

An article Libération’s subscribers will be pouring through this morning is the entry into force of the new 70-euro Navigo, or travel card, for some 4 million people using commuter trains to work in Paris and its suburbs. Libé explains that the new pass, which fixes a unique fare for commuters, is aimed at encouraging residents and workers to leave their cars at home.

The Greens have been celebrating the halving of the transport fare in the Ile de France region as their biggest victories yet. The annual subscription of the Navigo is set to fall from 733 euros to just 333 euros, a boon for students and struggling families, according to the left-leaning publication.

L’Humanité is enraged by press reports that the CEO of the French American electronics manufacturer Alcatel-Lucent, Michel Combes, is about to leave the company with a golden handshake worth 13.7 million euros. Combes joined the company in 2013 and has been on the job for only three years, a period during which 10,000 workers were laid off.

For the Communist party daily, while the company’s board of governors brag about Combe’s record, what he will be most remembered for by the workers at Alcatel is the violence with which he laid off his own staff.

Combe’s paycheck is the subject of an editorial in the Catholic daily La Croix. The paper says the fat bonus is centuries away from the realities known by people of their time. No surprise, says the newspaper, that managers no longer stand by the human collective which make up their businesses.

Libération brings out the details of a controversial deal which allows Norway to offload some of its prisoners to the Netherlands. According to the newspaper, 242 inmates are due to be flown from Oslo to Amsterdam starting this Tuesday under the terms of the accord approved by the two countries' lawmakers but denounced by left-leaning political parties and civil society groups.

Libé reports that opponents of the programme, who include the Norwegian bar association and the PST secret services, point to the heavy cost of the operation: 25.2 million euros to be paid to the Netherlands and the high risk that the prisoners could be radicalised during their sojourn in the Dutch prisons.

And the Sports daily L’Equipe wows for French teenager Anthony Martial, en route to Manchester United where he is expected to sign a contract worth a whooping 80 million euros. L’Equipe says while Martial is only 19 and with just 52 League 1 matches to his record, he is certain to become the most expensive player in French history, beating the record 75-million-euro purse splashed out for French icon Zinedine Zidane by Real Madrid in 2011. 

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