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French press review 17 December 2012

4 min

Cote d'Ivoire and Gérard Depardieu are among the subjects covered in today's French newspapers..



Catholic La Croix looks to Cote d'Ivoire, 18 months after the end of the civil war which followed the last presidential election.

President Alassane Ouattara is hoping that economic growth will help to calm feelings, but the wounds of the conflict remain terribly deep.

One resident of Abidjan, interviewed by the Catholic daily, says that things appear to be working well on the surface. But, for those associated with the Bété ethnic group of former president Laurent Gbagbo, there's the fear of intimidation in the workplace or at police checkpoints. Ten years of distrust and violence won't disppear overnight, or even in 18 months.

Financial exile dominates the front pages of right wing Le Figaro and tabloid Aujourd'hui en France.

Le Figaro says the tax battle with actor Gérard Depardieu, who has moved to Belgium rather than continue to pay income tax here in France, is a further sign that the Socialist government has completely lost the plot.

Depardieu, angry at having his decision to leave qualified as "pathetic" by the French prime minister, has handed in his passport and his social security card. He complains that success, creativity, talent and the simple fact of being different have made him the target of a stupidly repressive tax regime. "Who are you to call me pathetic?" he asks the prime minister.

The real scandal in the whole affair is the current government's crusade against the rich, says Le Figaro, which is depriving the country of the talents and job-creation abilities of a vital slice of society. Not only do they have to pay an unjust tax bill, laments the right wing paper, they risk being insulted by their elected representatives if they decide that enough is enough.

Le Figaro, for reasons of its own, chooses not to mention statistics published by Aujourd'hui en France, showing the mumber of tax exiles each year since 2001. Over the past decade, the numbers of rich rats jumping ship has varied from a mere 368 in 2003 to a high of 843 in 2006, the year right wing president Chirac handed over to right wing president Sarkozy. So much for that left wing crusade theory.


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