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French press review 25 May 2012

Text by: William Niba
5 min

The power struggle at the helm of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy’s party shares the limelight with the Greek crisis and mass retrenchment plans unveiled by several big French companies.

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Liberation isn’t sure what the Socialist government can do about the lay-offs, which it describes as the ultimate test facing the new government. According to the left-leaning newspaper, the most pressing issue is for the administration is to save as many jobs as possible.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

The paper calls on the government to oblige the big bosses to sign up to a new growth mechanism and to make sure they do not escape responsibility for the fate inflicted on their workers.

“The hour of truth has come for Air France,” shouts Les Echos. The economic newspaper reports that the carrier plans to lay off between 5,000 and 6,000 workers.

It points to the “striking” similarity between the ills afflicting Air France and those that have ravaged the country – the lack of competitiveness and the shortage of resources to fund an “expensive social model”.

“Let’s stop the massacre,” pleads L’Humanité, as it points to tens of thousands of jobs that are on the line all over the country. The Communist Party daily publishes a letter written by party chief Pierre Laurent urging Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to decree a moratorium on all redundancies until after next month’s parliamentary elections.

L’Humanité describes the phased release of retrenchment plans, kept under the table under a secret pact signed with the outgoing government, as Sarkozy’s poisoned apple to the new administration.

L’Huma claims that Hollande was absolutely right when he named the “financial world” as his staunchest “enemy”. According to the paper, the moneymen are powerful and impose their will and “the dogma of maximum profit in minimum time” wherever they operate.

For the daily, it should be “political power that should have the final word over economic might, not the reverse”. The newspaper calls on the government to cut the “Gordian knot” tying it to the financial predators, the bosses and shareholders who were allowed to earn “indecent” salaries during Sarkozy’s five-year rule.

Le Monde examines the just-ended EU summit in Brussels, stating that the Europeans are already counting the losses of Greece’s exit from the eurozone. The paper says it isn’t sure whether they are just bluffing or already preparing for the worse.

According to Le Figaro, Hollande’s push for the adoption of eurobonds and the mutualisation of the European debt, while ruling out the so-called "golden rule" banning budget deficits can only draw a “negative reaction” from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Europe, the paper argues, is too weak to withstand two “destructive forces”: the dismantling of the Franco-German alliance caused by Hollande and the Greek fiasco that in fanning the rise of “leftist populism” across Europe.

Le Figaro publishes a call for unity issued by ex-foreign minister Alain Juppé, deeply saddened by the tug of war that has broken out for the UMP chieftaincy between the party secretary Jean François Copé and former Prime Minister François Fillon.

Juppé’s appeal comes as the centre-right coalition is desperate to avoid a rout in upcoming parliamentary elections. The party has been without a leader since Nicolas Sarkozy’s defeat and Le Figaro is sparing no effort in warning right-wing voters about a left-wing confiscation of power in the country, as they already hold a majority in the upper house of parliament.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the birth of l'Abbé Pierre, the French Catholic priest and member of the resistance to German occupation during World War II, who went on to dedicate his life to fighting for the poor and homeless. Catholic daily La Croix starts a series dedicated to the campaigning priest.

Aujourd’hui en France/ Le Parisien calls to mind the drama most dreaded by parents the world over, as the world observes International Missing Children’s Day.

And two days to the start of the French Tennis Open, former French coach Guy Forget tells the free newspaper Metro that he doesn’t expect a Frenchman to win at Roland Garros, Cameroonian-born Yannick Noah still holding on to his historic record set in 1983.

The sports daily, L’Equipe regrets the dramatic exit of Gaël Monfils France’s most competitive player on hard court due to injury.

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