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French press review 11 July 2018

Wild celebrations as France knocks out Belgium to reach the football World Cup final.


“France at the gates of paradise”, “dreams of a second world title”, “dreaming of the stars”. These are some of the headlines the papers are running on their front pages as they celebrate France's qualification for the football World Cup final after their  1 - 0 victory over Belgium.

Le Parisien which sees paradise just one foot away, reports scenes of unconfined joy that swept through the French capital on Tuesday as tens of thousands of people poured into the Champs-Elysees avenue, around the Arc de Triomphe, and the Paris city waving flags and letting off flares at the end of the nerve-wracking encounter in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg..

Left-leaning Libération also reports from the Champs Elysées 'the most beautiful avenue in the world' which was invaded by thousands of motorbikes, cycles, cars, dustbin lorries - a cacophony of car horns and fire crackers rang out over Paris.

But according to the newspaper, amid the dancing and waving flares and flags were some 1200 members of security forces as France remains under high security since the November 2015 terror attacks.

L'Est Républicain recalls for the record that it was in the 50th minute and like Lilian Thuram's 1998 header that defender Samuel Umtiti scored the winner that shattered the world cup dreams of Belgium and unleashed the genius of the French especially their ability to hold an advantage once they go into the lead.

And the sports daily l'Equipe showers praises on French manager Deschamps for the fantastic game plan he put in place to outfox the talented Belgians.

For Le Journal de la Haute Marne, France owes the performance to Deschamps especially as he was the subject of harsh criticism especially from some of his team mates in the 1998 world cup winning side who drew attention to his so-called lack of inspiration and ambition in managing his squad.

But according to La Presse de la Manche even as the French celebrate their qualification for the final, the job isn't done yet.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who was in Saint Petersburg to cheer Les Bleus is certainly hoping to reap some political capital from their world Cup exploits. But several papers argue that even if France are crowned World football champions that will not let him off the hook.

One of them is Le Figaro which carries a warning from the leader of the main opposition Republicans party parliamentary group Christian Jacob that they will not give the President a free hand to reduce the powers of the national assembly.

Monsieur Jacob spoke to the right-wing publication as lawmakers on Tuesday, began debating Macron's call for constitutional changes aimed at streamlining the legislative process, including slashing the number of seats in the National Assembly and the Senate by a third.

La Montagne Centre-France also reflects on Macron's proposal during Monday's address to the French Congress to introduce a Presidential right of response to lawmakers. That breaks the sacrosanct separation between the executive legislative arms of government, notes the newspaper.

In the publication's view, Macron isn't even sure of garnering enough from votes from the reticent and opposition-dominated Senate to see the reform through.

President Emmanuel Macron's posture as a stand-alone pro-European on the migrants’ crisis also draws critical comments from some newspapers. 

Les Echos argues that by denying the existence of intermediary channels to resolve EU issues Macron risked playing into the hands of populists who do not agree with him. For Le Figaro, his posture is indeed polarizing as it can only contribute in drawing a dividing line between progressives and nationalists.

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