French press review 8 April 2011

Text by: William Niba
4 min

Friday’s papers are dominated by a break within the ruling UMP coalition here in France following the announcement by ex- environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo on Thursday night that he was breaking with President Sarkozy's party to form a centrist coalition ahead of next year’s presidential elections



 La Nouvelle République du Centre Ouest calls the decision a smart move by a well-prepared man. The paper however warns that a re-invigorated Centrist party could be damaging to the ruling UMP come 2012. The paper also predicts hard days ahead for the Centrists and wonders what the future holds for presidential hopefuls  such as ex-defence minister Hervé Morin, ex-prime minister Dominique de Villepin and the rest of the pack after Borloo’s outing

Paris Normandie perceives Borloo as the ruling party’s main problem. “He is President Sarkozy’s nightmare”, comments the regional paper. It also warns that by seeking to become the flag-bearer of the center-right in the polls, Borloo could siphon hundreds of thousands of votes which presidential Sarkozy desperately needs to qualify for the second round run-off.

The situation of the French and European economies and the problem of immigration are also given front-page coverage by Friday’s French papers. Le Figaro sees clear signs of economic recovery in France and Germany, after the European Central Bank raised interest rates. The Catholic daily La Croix disagrees and denies that Europe is off the hook citing Portugal’s appeal for financial aide from its European partners and the IMF. La Croix warns that the bankruptcy of a European country cannot yet be ruled out.

That opinion is also being upheld by Le Monde. The respected paper headlines Portugal’s distress call for urgent financial assistance, explaining that the country could miss its debt obligations by June. Le Monde’s projections of funds likely to be provided by the EU and the IMF stand at an estimated 75 billion euros.

The economic tabloids are less upbeat about the French economic outlook. Les Echos, explains that while there are positive signals of growth, purchasing power continues to stagnate. La Tribune expresses concern over rising prices in the housing sector and the fact that it could spark a stockmarket crash. But the paper notes that real-estate professionals are ruling out hikes in housing prices.

Friday’s issue of the Communist party daily L'Humanité, launches a fervent appeal for a strong rejection of austerity throughout Europe, urging Europeans from East to West to denounce the Euro Pact, and to participate in a huge Euro demonstration scheduled in Budapest, Hungary on Saturday.

Libération chides Interior minister Claude Guéant for the far-right positions he has taken since taking office. “Guéant is right in his boots”, headlines the paper. Libération also points out that his repeated slip-ups on immigration confirm him as President Sarkozy’s bulldog for 2012.

Aujourd’hui en France /Le Parisien publishes what it says are ”the real immigration figures”. The tabloid holds that legal immigration to France has remained stable during the past five years, contrary to claims made by far-right politicians.

France Soir accuses Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of provoking France, by issuing temporal European residency permits to Lampedusa immigrants. The newspaper argues that the passes into Europe open the way for some 25 thousand Tunisians currently in the Italian Island to continue their journey to their preferred destination France.

L’Est Republicain considers the influx of refugees as a taste of the pudding for Europe which saw the plight and misery of the boat people as exclusively Italy’s problem. The tabloid calls the Schengen permits an astute move by Rome to wake up the Europeans and warns them that diplomatic fights over immigration policy can only kill the free movement treaty and undermine action in dealing with migrants from Africa, projected to grow to 1 billion inhabitants by 2050.


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