French press review 16 August 2011

Text by: Carla Westerheide
3 min

The Euro (again) as well as the organisation of the Catholic church's World Youth Day in Madrid, and the apparent benefits of Judo all feature in today's French dailies.


One headline that can be found across almost all the French front pages this morning is on the Franco-German emergency meeting to take place in Paris today. The two countries will hold talks to reassure markets and try to find a way out of the eurozone financial crisis.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

But already over the weekend, both issued a statement saying they will not discuss Eurobonds, for example. A measure under which all eurozone countries could buy bonds (borrow money) at the same rate, whatever their credit rating. And a speaker for German Chancellor Angela Merkel even said that no one should expect any “spectacular results.”

The paper Aujourd’hui en France looks at four big questions concerning the crisis.

  • Who is really in power, the countries or the EU? – The paper assures readers that the European Union is merely an economic union.
  • Has France already given up part of its sovereignty? – Yes, says the paper since one of a country’s main powers used to be defending its own currency. Since the introduction of the Euro, that is no longer the case.
  • Could the crisis worsen if member states can’t agree on a common policy? – Yes, since all 17 eurozone members have different objectives.
  • Could there be a European government? – The paper says while there is a strong economic union, a United States of Europe is still out of the question.

Communist paper L’Humanité is (obviously) very critical of the meeting, saying two top rated economies are trying to “speed up the supranational, bureaucratic and anti-social drift” in Europe.

It also says that any of the measures proposed by either side could fuel solidarities among Los Indignados – a social movement that has recently hit Spain and Greece in particular.

Another headline this morning is the 26th “World Youth Day” in Madrid. That headline obviously prominently figures in catholic paper La Croix. Some 450,000 young pilgrims from 80 countries travelled to the Spanish capital.

Pope Benedict XVI will speak there on Thursday. However, the paper criticizes the organisation of the event, saying that 14,000 of the 50,000 French pilgrims still didn’t know where they would be staying less than a week before the event.

And some good news in Le Figaro. A Japanese woman has received the 10th Dan Judo at 98-years old. She is the first woman ever to receive the highest black belt degree. There are only 7 people worldwide who hold the same distinction, including one in France and three in Japan.

Keiko Fukuda says her grandfather pushed her to begin Judo. Apparently he (the grandfather) actually taught another form of martial arts to the creator of Judo and had told her it would bring her good health and make her strong. She jokes that she never thought the road would be this long.

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