French press review 22 April 2011

Text by: William Niba
4 min

Digging for the truth about a murdered family, controversy over a private-sector bonus order, Sarkozy defends his record, immigrants say why they want to come to France, families worry about paying for somewhere to live and what is to be done in Libya?



The French papers are struggling to come to terms with the exhumation of five bodies from a family home in Nantes, and police efforts to get to the bottom of what appears to be a vendetta.

It’s the cover story in Aujourd’hui en France/Le Parisien, which reports that the remains buried in the garden are those of a mother and her four children. The tabloid says investigators are looking for Xavier, the 50-year-old father suspected of carrying out the killings.


Le Metro exclaims about the “horror” of the discovery while France Soir, quotes people who knew them describing Xavier as the father of a discreet and happy family


The main French papers also take a look at President Nicolas Sarkozy’s record, particularly his controversial plan to oblige some employers to pay a bonus to private-sector workers. La Tribune is furious about the just-announced Sakozy bonus.

The measure requires companies employing more than 50 workers which pay out a dividend to pay their emplyees bonuses of around 1,000 euros. The economic newspaper calls it a “diktat by the Elysée” which has angered everyone, the employers' federation, the unions and the opposition which has slammed it as a last-minute ploy by the unpopular president to woe disgruntled voters.

Le Figaro stands in defence of the president arguing that Sarkozy is on a campaign trail to defend his record. The right-leaning newspaper reports that the Elysée will this Friday, release a document detailing the all the reforms carried out during his four years in office.

Libération doesn’t see things the same way.The left-leaning paper dismisses Sarkozy’s four years in office as “a journey into the wilderness”. The tabloid argues that with just a year to the presidential election, its reporters travelled "from Aix-en-Province to Grenoble and from Douai à La Courneuve" and all they met were people worried and disappointed by Sarkozy’s policies.

La Croix visits Vintimille, the French town where a senior French administrator stopped and searched an Italian train transporting Tunisian immigrants. Correspondents dispatched by the Catholic daily to the border town in the Alps give an account of the two days they spent with the Tunisian boat people – their ordeal on the rough Mediterranean sea, the long wait on the Italian island of Lampedusa and why they have made France their ultimate destination.

L'Humanité raises the plight of the poor in France facing the spiralling cost of housing. It’s an “exclusion machine” claims the Communist Party daily. It claims that up to 140,000 families living in council houses can’t afford to meet the vertiginous increase in rents.

The paper investigated the situation in the Parisian suburb of Saint Ouen and warns that many risk being evicted, due to the Boutin law introduced recently as part of the government’s efforts to promote racial integration in France.

The troubled allied campaign to protect civilians in Libya is the main story in Friday’s Le Monde. The newspaper underlines that France, Britain and Italy have stepped up their engagement in the conflict and their decision to send military advisers to help the rebels in Begnhazi constitutes a new step in the process.

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