France

Press review Wednesday 19 May 2010

In this morning's papers, we've got nurses on the railway tracks and British sibling rivalry, as well as the usual coverage of President Nicolas Sarkozy's favourite projects – tax shields and banning the burka.

Advertising

Right-wing Le Figaro gives a full page over to what it calls "the battle of the brothers". The brothers in question are David Miliband and Ed Miliband who are both in the running for leadership of the UK 's Labour Party, following the resignation of Gordon Brown.

Ed says that deciding to run against his brother was “one of the most difficult decisions of his life”, and the article reminds us that David, former Foreign Minister, will be the favourite in a competition that the British press continues to compare to a boxing match.

Also in the paper, Brigitte Vanvliet-Lanoe of France's national research body the CNRS, is telling readers that Iceland's erupting volcano – much beloved of European air passengers – could keep spewing for another year or two. 

Le Figaro also looks at the French Open at Rolland Garros, as the French Tennis federation tries to decide whether to expand the current courts or simply to up and move altogether.

The Paris city council is getting nervous about this, not wanting to see the tournament leave the city limits. The French Tennis Federation will make a decision early next year, which leaves time for Paris to make its case. 

Left-wing Libération is doing nothing to give President Sarkozy a nice start to his day. Inside the paper we're told that a poll of 1,000 people returned a result of 61 per cent in favour of getting rid of his tax shield. This is the system that puts a ceiling of 50 per cent on the amount of tax that can be paid by France 's richest.

Much more entertaining is a photograph of specialised nurses, looking like they just stepped out of the operating theatre in their hats and gowns, all sitting on railway tracks.

They all tried to go to the Ministry of Health yesterday to complain about lack of recognition for their profession. But the Ministry of Health wouldn't let them in, so they went next door to one of Paris ' major train stations, the Gare Montparnasse, and sat on the tracks. After dozens of trains were unable to leave, and 100,000 train passengers were stranded, a delegation did manage to visit a senior health authority.

Business daily Les Echoes reports that the French government today will be looking at the bill designed to ban the niqab, or "the complete veil". France 's highest legal body, the Conseil d'état, has already said on two occasions there are some "serious constitutional problems" with the bill, although Sarkozy's UMP party has pointed out that the Conseil d'état is not unanimous on this.

But President Sarkozy said this week that the same legal body had issues back in 1962 when General de Gaulle wanted universal suffrage to elect France 's president. And Libération quotes Lionnel Luca of the UMP party saying directly that if the Conseil d'état ruled against the law, there would in fact have to be a referendum. Les Echoes also reports on a survey , although it doesn't tell us how many people were questioned, that says 70% of French people are in favour of the ban. 

Finally, Catholic daily La Croix reports on its back page that all is not well in the International Organisation of Francophonie. The paper notes that a job ad for a Financial Director published by the organisation recently contains, not one, but two grammatical errors.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning