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French press review 4 November 2015


Conservative press dismises government labour reforms as sick joke; brand President Francois Hollande as "Copernican revolutionary". Vatican leaks and arrest of moles expose extent of resistances to Pope's efforts to reform the Curia; and PSG beaten at last by Real Madrid in a match it should not have lost.


The Government’s reform of the labour code is under the radar screens as Labour Minister Myriam el Khomry prepares to present the orientations of her draft legislation to social partners this Wednesday.

For L’Humanité, there is a principled stand in favour of the corporate sector clearly in the government’s mind, the main objective pursued, according to the Communist party daily, favouring the signing of internal company accords which are detrimental to the condition of workers.

“It is much ado about nothing” That’s the front page caption in today’s Le Figaro. The right-wing publication holds that not a single clause in the legal framework of the employment contracts, the minimum wage or the 35 hour working week, will be amended in the legislation in the process of being drafted, as they have engraved in stone as binding fundamental principles for all workers.

As the conservative publication puts it, in this France suffering from inaction, nothing can be worse than the Socialist governments’ art of doing nothing, pretending to reform when they are not.

According to Le Figaro, deceiving the nation with the illusions of satisfaction for a job well done will not halt France’s economic down turn. And the journal concludes by deriding what it says is President François Hollande’s new trademark: always prompt at announcing 'Copernican revolutions' and trying to move "mouth delivering mountains".

In its build-up to the social partners’ conference, Libération travelled to Sweden where the authorities have successfully experimented the 30-hour working week at retirement homes. The left-leaning paper found out that the Swedes are delighted to work six hours a day.

The newspaper documented less sick leave cases, less stress, greater efficiency and a confident atmosphere at job sites where people were working on part time basis since the 1970s while multiplying their productivity rate.

The French papers also takes up the bombshell that has just landed from Rome; two books detailing the wiretapping of the Pope’s private conversations, allegedly recorded by a racy social climber and a Spanish prelate.

The information passed to investigative journalists includes revelations that charity money was spent on refurbishing the houses of powerful cardinals, while the murky Vatican bank continues to shelter suspected criminals. The moles risk up to eight years in prison if the case gets to court. According to the Catholic daily La Croix, the leaks and arrests expose the resistances faced by Pope Francis in his attempt to reform the Curia.

“Infuriating”, “cruel disillusion for attractive side”, such are the superlatives Le Parisien and Le Figaro chose to vent their frustrations after Paris Saint Germain’s 1-0 defeat by Real Madrid on Tuesday.

“What a big disappointment”, also lamented L’Equipe. The sports daily says that a fatal error by PSG keeper Kevin Trap caused their defeat in a match they should have won, after hitting the woods twice, the cross bar and a host of clear chances.

The result allowed Rafael Benitez's side to become one of the first teams to guarantee their place in the knockout rounds as they maintained their unbeaten record this season and inflicted a first defeat on PSG since last April when they were eliminated from the semi-finals of the competition by Barcelona.

Shakhtar Donetsk trounced Malmo 4-0 in Ukraine in the night's other Group A game, meaning that Laurent Blanc's side remain four points clear of the teams below them and should still comfortably join Madrid in the next round, but they are likely to have to settle for second place.

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