French press review 25 March 2013

5 min

Cyprus, Germany and the future leadership of France's Employers Federation, all feature prominently in the French newspapers today...


Cyprus is still making headlines. "Europe wants to close down the casino" is how left-wing Libération sees the overnight deal struck to save the island's banks from going down the gurgler.

The money men in Asia seem to be pleased with the news, since the Tokyo stock exchange closed a sort while ago with share values up by nearly 1.7% on Friday's prices.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Some locals are less happy, with Libé reporting that the Brussels-imposed measures will mean the end of the Cypriot tourist industry and will also bring down the curtain on the hugely important Russian financial presence, with Moscow millionaires accounting for an estimated half of the cash currently coagulating in Cyprus accounts. Cash which will be heavily taxed under the new deal, always assuming that Brussels can get their greedy paws anywhere near it.

The German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, admits that Cyprus is facing difficult times. But he says that's not the fault of Brussels. The problem is an economic model which no longer works.

Speaking of which, Le Monde says there are clear signs of a growing resentment of all things German in struggling southern Europe. Swastikas and Hitler moustaches are being painted on walls in Athens and Nicosia as the victims of austerity focus their annoyance on Berlin, especially poor old Mother Merkel.

That's bad news for the financial future of Europe, since a perception of persecution is not conducive to the smooth running of the European machine. And it's also bad news for France which appears to have dropped out of the equation.

Gone are the days when that strange two-headed monster Merkozy was the terror of financial miscreants from Mullinavat to Minsk.

Hollande's efforts to pull together contradictory points of view have made him completely transparent, leaving the main woman at the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, as the clearest French voice on the troubled stage of global finance. Le Monde seems to suggest that that's a bad thing.

If I were François Hollande I'd be keeping my head down and saying 'Yeah! Go Christine!'.

Laurence Parisot, the boss of the French bosses union, is trying to adjust her organisation's statutes so that she can stand for a third term. She's on the front page of this morning's business daily, Les Echos, and Laurence is as angry as Larry.

"What sort of business people are you," she asks her bossy colleagues, "if you're afraid of a bit of competition?" The problem is that some people are sniping from the battlements, trying to stop the Parisot plan for a third term because they see her as insufficiently combative in these difficult times.

Some business leaders want a more clearly defined political line (that, we could probably translate as 'make more trouble for the socialist government'), while others want to take on the same fighting role as the workers' unions.

Parisot says her union has got to be more than a closed club playing war games, and has got to move on from its current opacity where dirty deals and back stabbing are all part of the picture.

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