French press review 7 May 2010

The French worry about the Greek crisis. Could austerity hit here, too?


The headlines of recent days have all focused on Greece's crisis woes, but today, it seems the French have woken up to the reality of their own public finance situation.

This comes after Prime Minister François Fillion announced yesterday a three-year freeze on public expeniture, in a bid to reduce public defecit from 8.2 per cent this year to three per cent in 2013.

That means that next year the four billion euros that were expected to be added to this year's budget will be shaved off.

The papers are calling this France's austerity measures. And although nowhere close to the brutality of Grece's austerity plans, there seems to be a real fear in the country that we are entering a period of serious belt-tigtening.

Centrist daily Le Monde leads with news of how German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy plan to save the euro.

In a letter signed by the two leaders ahead of today's eurozone summit, the pair call on Brussels for greater economic governance on the European single currency.

This comes as an increasing number of analysts fear that the collapse of a eurozone country such as Greece or Portugal could bring down the whole house of cards.

The letter begins by dismissing the simplest solution should a member state become crippled by debt, that would mean exclusion from the club. The principle of unity must stand the pair say. but at the same time each member state has a responsibility to safeguarding the stability of the currency.

Sarkozy maintains in the letter that he wants a strong and swift response to speculators lining up to make money from the Greek people's woes.


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