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FRANCE

French press review 25 October 2018

The EU braces for a bitter battle with Italy over Rome's big-spending budget. Violence looms over America's mid-term elections, as police remove pipe bombs destined for senior Trump critics -- Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and others.

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The inter-European Union row over Italy's budget is today's towering front-page issue after Brussels rejected the populist government's big-spending budget.

The EU set a three-week deadline for the Italians to present a revised budget which Rome has rejected. It’s the first time it has turned a member away over spending rules violations.

The ultimatum puts the two on course for a clash, just as the EU struggles to reach a deal for Britain to leave the bloc with a deadline imminent.

According to Libération, contrary to what is being written here and there the question of the Italian debt which stands at 130 per cent of of the country's GDP, there is nothing trivial about the crisis.

For Libé, while Italy is free to impose a heavy debt-servicing burden on itself, irrespective of the fact that its creditors are mainly Italians the risk of capital flight remains very high.

In the left-leaning publication's view, if the populist government in Rome ends up sparking a new crisis over Italy's sovereign debt, it will be the entire Eurozone which will be left holding the bag.

Libération urges the two parties to act quickly to cut a deal wondering if there is still time for Italy to get serious and the EU to abandon her austere approach to the standoff.

Le Monde recalls that there has been other confrontations between Brussels and an EU member in the past. But as it points out, this time around the balance of power is not in Brussels favour.

Just seven months to European elections, it observes, the very populist Italian government is openly betting on the arrival of a more conciliatory Commission next year. The stakes are very high and a fatal collusion needs to be avoided, according to the evening daily.

La Croix regrets the EU's lack of flexibility in dealing with the so-called provocations by Rome. According to the Catholic daily, euro critics and leftist parties across Europe have been quick to denounce the posture by Brussels and to express sympathy for the governing Five Star Alliance in Italy.

La Croix claims that on the eve of the 2019 European elections such sympathy could transform Italy into a rallying symbol for nationalist parties across Europe.

 

Le Figaro says you don't have to look beyond your nose to find the causes of the fiscal discontent sweeping across France.

A few days ago it explains, a parliamentary report revealed that compulsory levies in France crossed the historic benchmark of 1,000 billion euros last year, marking a spectacular progress of 200 billion in ten years.

The right-wing newspaper claims that even if the rise is partly attributed to economic growth it is also caused by the French fiscal frenzy.

According to Le Figaro, France holds the record of fiscal pressure as French levies amount to 45 percent of the country's GDP. 

It blames the drift to the failure by successive governments to reign in on 40 years of piled up deficits amounting to 2300 billion euros -- an investment that will never pay off, according to Le Figaro.

 

Several paper react to the pipe bombs sent on Wednesday to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and top Democrats  considered as hate figures for Donald Trump supporters not forgetting CNN known for its robust coverage of the Trump administration, just days before a bitterly divided America votes November 6 in Mid-term elections.

Le Journal de la Haute-Marne says the atmosphere in "Uncle Sam's country has never been so tense. According to the paper, it's a waste of time to expect Trump to launch an appeal for calm.

It argues that when you go out pointing a finger at your political adversaries using rhetoric which has nothing to do with politics, you can't turn around and pretend to take offence at the actions you provoked.

For the Haute Marne daily, that's the height of irresponsibility and food for thought not just for US politicians but also here in France.

 

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