French press review 7 August 2012

How the Arctic is becoming a modern Klondike. The Taubira verdict. Will the French left split over Europe? Should France grow more corn? Will Bolt beat Blake? And how would you like to win 190 million euros?


The Arctic, the land of greed.

The Christian daily La Croix leads with a two-page profile of Greenland, an autonomous region of Denmark. The island has attracted more than 20 gas and oil giants, who are exploring the coast for gas, oil and other natural resources. This gold rush, says the paper, was caused by the unprecedented ice melt over the last 15 years.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

The whole of the region is becoming a modern Klondike with major world powers and global energy giants positioning themselves to extract the estimated 13 per cent of the planet’s oil and 30 per cent natural gas resources.

The paper says the 57,000 indigenous inhabitants of the island are in a unique position to become the Qataris of the north, since their autonomous status agreement with Denmark allows them to explore partnerships with any countries or companies they desire.

The Left-leaning Libération gives its first three pages to French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira. We must stop short prison terms, says the minister. The last 10 years of Sarkozy’s repressive judicial politics have led to prison overcrowding. Jail cannot be the only response, the only punishment, says the minister.

The European Treaty divides the left wing, headlines the daily Le Figaro on its front page. Europe divides the Socialist Party, says a front-page editorial. French President François Hollande is about to experience a crucial moment of his presidency, when the European treaty signed in Brussels last June will be submitted for approval in the National Assembly.

"As is already his habit, François Hollande is about to perform an acrobatic performance,” chuckles the author. The editorial accuses Hollande of concealing the fact that the treaty completely reflects Angela Merkel’s famous austerity policies. The journalist predicts that Hollande might even face revolt in the ranks of his own parliamentary majority.

Business daily Les Echos calls on France to produce more wheat. It is much easier to develop a sector which is working well, like cereals production, than to artificially maintain some of the declining parts of French industry, says the article.

The planet’s projected population growth to nine billion in 2050 presents an opportunity for France, which already exports 50 per cent of the cereals it produces.

London Olympic Games 2012

Are you ready for act two, asks the sports daily L’Equipe.

Irresistible in the 100m finals, will Bolt be capable of winning a gold in 200m race?

His biggest rival, according to the paper, is his compatriot Yohan Blake. But Bolt seems to be as confident and charmingly smug (cocky) as ever.

"Blake? We’ll see in Rio, I’ll be 30 and he will be 26 years old," the paper cites the athlete as saying.

Finally, the popular Aujourd’hui en France is all about money.

The Euromillion goldmine awaits its winner, teases the daily. 190 million euros are at stake tonight and, according to the article, there is a massive surge in customers at tobacconists who sell lottery tickets.

Everybody dreams about what they’ll do if they win. One of the players interviewed by Aujourd’hui en France would love to relocate to Madagascar, another to do a tour of Greek islands. A player in another part of Paris says that the best way to win is to play in either Portugal or Belgium.

Don’t miss out on the last train to Brussels, then!

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