French press review 17 May 2012

France has a new government, with as many women ministers as men. But Socialist Party chief Martine Aubry, who failed to win the party's presidential nomination, isn't there. How significant that is depends on what paper you read. Meanwhile, exotic dancers have downed tools at Paris's Crazy Horse.


Left-leaning Libération celebrates the fact that there are exactly the same number of women and men ministers, adding that there's is also a fair representation of the various factions within the French Socialist Party.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

What there is not, and right-wing Le Figaro jumps on the fact with relish, is a ministerial position for the leader of the Socialist Party, Martine Aubry. The main story in Figaro says this divorce between the top two figures on the French left shows the fragility of the whole socialist edifice.

No, say Libé. What it really shows is the political courage of the new president, who has refused to allow the party hierarchy force his choices.

President François Hollande has also been criticised for giving the women the minor ministries. Of the "big" portfolios, only justice has gone to a woman, the overseas deputy Christiane Taubira.

The new team is certainly marked by a blend of newcomers and old hands, admirable for Libé, extremely risky for Le Figaro.

The old hands include Pierre Moscovici as economy minister. He was a student under the disgraced former International Monetary Fund director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and already has ministerial experience from the Jospin government. Perhaps most importantly, Mosco, as he is known to his friends, has two terms as a European MP behind him and has been a systematic supporter of all European treaties.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

Laurent Fabius is the new man at foreign affairs. He was once French prime minister and was an ardent supporter of Martine Aubry in the recent Socialist primary election.

Fabius famously said François Hollande could only be president in his dreams. Which proves, now that we've all woken up, that Hollande is not given to holding a grudge.

All the new folk have their work cut out for them and will have to make ends meet on salaries 30 per cent lower than their Sarkozist predecessors as the president follows up an electoral promise by cutting ministerial salaries by nearly one-third.

In sharp contrast, the girls at Crazy Horse want a salary increase ... 15 per cent would do nicely.

Crazy Horse is a Paris dinner venue at which you can watch ladies doing exotic dancing while you tuck into your chicken and chips.

The problem is that the girl exotic dancers are annoyed at being paid less than 2,000 euros each month, for no fewer than 13 shows every week. There are the health problems associated with wearing very few clothes and the lack of sleep, since the average exotic dancer gets to leave the office between two and three o'clock in the morning.

What is annoying is that every paying guest shells out enough to cover the wages of two girls. And the venue regularly fills all 300 seats, at prices ranging from 65-165 euros, depending on what you wash you chicken and chips down with.

Negotiations are said to be continuing. The one problem with the story is that there are 18 Crazy Horse dancers, but only 17 strikers. I wonder if the single non-striking girl has been strutting her stuff, alone, while the others keep their clothes on.

I may have to drop around to the Crazy Horse tonight to check it out.


Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning