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French press review 23 February 2011

Text by: Marjorie Hache
3 min

The unrest in Libya dominates Wednesday morning's front pages.



Guess who's on the cover of most French daily newspapers today. I'll give you a few clues: he's wearing an orange shirt and a head scarf. The photos often show him shaking a finger.

 Yes...Quelle Surprise... Libya’s Moamer Kadhafi has made it on to the front pages of leftist Libération and conservative Le Figaro alike. Interestingly and to some extent unsurprisingly... both papers have very similar headlines. Libération is headlining "L'enragé", the enraged or rabbied while Le Figaro has: "Kadhafi's murder delirium". On both, the sub-headings say the “Libyan leader threatens to butcher his people”.

CommunistL'Humanité also has Kadhafi on its front page... This time however it's not a picture taken from his speech yesterday. No, its him shaking hands with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during his 2007 visit to Paris. This highlights the general uproar occurring across the French media regarding the downfall of France's status on an International level. We'll get back to that shortly....

Over on catholic La Croix, Libya is also on the front page.... featuring this time a picture of young Libyans making victory signs on the back of a truck. The paper has an article entitled, "The failed adventures of an out of breath tyrant". La Croix also looks at the effect the Libyan crisis has had over Italy, saying on Monday night, six ministers met up with President Silvio Berlusconi... They apparently fear their good economic relations with the oil rich country will come to an end...

Le Parisien , who also has Libya as its top story, is mostly concerned by the French nationals who are fleeing the chaos. Some interviewed by the paper say that as foreigners, they didn’t feel threatened, but that they did feel the people’s hate towards Khadafy.

Meanwhile, French diplomacy is getting a bashing from centrist broadsheetLe Monde for the way it has been reacting to unrest in the Arab world. The paper has a four-page special in which the strategies used by l'Elysée, France’s presidency, are criticised by various diplomats. Le Monde also has a special report on the way France is trying to reshuffle its political stances. The European Union is also under fire... Indeed one of the sub headings reads "Caught Short, the European Union improvises..."

The paper says Frances is trying to rebuild its image in the Arab world and has had to do some introspection following criticism of its foreign policies. As Le Monde puts it... There was France, thinking it still played a particular role in the region..... However, it failed to understand what was going to happen in Tunisia, its former colony. Le Monde writes that the United States stepped where France thought it was standing and questioned France’s credibility noting the controversy surounding foreign affairs minister Michèle Alliot Marie’s Tunisian friendships and private jet holidays and France’s president greater interest in the G20.

France, who is now trying to salvage much of its relationship with Tunisia… will be sending Christine Lagarde, economy minister, and Eu affaires ministers Laurent Wauquiez. Foreign affairs minister will…“Quelle Surprise”…be on another trip to Brazil.


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