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French press review 21 June 2013

Text by: William Niba
6 min

There is a lot of economic news in the papers today, following President François Hollande’s national dialogue meeting on social and economic reform in Paris Thursday. The meeting with union leaders and business chiefs comes amid spiralling unemployment, waning consumer confidence and deepening pessimism over the government’s economic policies.

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L’Humanité is enraged over an “unjust” plan to raise the retirement age to 62. The Communist Party newspaper warns that the plan will worsen the situation of blue-collar workers aspiring to retire in good health.

Le Figaro says Hollande has shut the door on the grand pension reform he promised, after yielding to pressure from the unions and abandoning a proposal to align public and private pension benefits put forward in Yannick Moreau's report that the president himself commissioned.

Libération welcomes Hollande’s plan to fill up to 300,000 jobs that remain vacant due to a shortage of qualified staff. The left-leaning paper says the president is especially looking to open the job market to qualified youths in poor areas. According to Libé, the president’s mouth is watering about some 14 million job opportunities missed every year.

Aujourd’hui en France reveals plans by the road safety task force to install 100 more radars on France’s highways by the end of 2013 raising the total number to 4,200. The body’s commissioner told the paper that the general idea is to curb speeding on France’s highways and bring road accident deaths down to below 2,000 per year by 2020. But a self-appointed drivers' pressure group claims the government is simply developing a business that is bringing in millions of euros to the public treasury.

Aujourd’hui en France accesses the extent of damage inflicted on several regions across southern France by an unprecedented wave of floods. The paper says that, while there are signs of improving weather, summer promises to a nightmare for thousands of families who have lost their homes and businesses. Several papers report that Hollande flew to Luz-Saint-Sauveur shortly afterwards to assess the extent of damage and extend his sympathies with the victims. Le Figaro welcomes the government’s decision to declare a state of emergency in the south-western region.

Dossier: The Cahuzac affair

It looks as if we haven’t heard it all about the alleged Bernard Tapie corruption scandal. Le Monde reports that Pierre Estoup, the judge who presided over the three-man arbitration panel that handed Tapie 400 million euros to settle a dispute with Crédit Lyonnais, personally intervened in 1998 to prevent the tycoon from going to prison in a match-fixing scandal involving football team Olympique Marseille.

Le Monde reports that Budget Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is keen on recovering two million euros from tax evaders after claiming to have tracked down thousands of fraudsters. The paper says defaulters are facing harsh penalties of the confiscation of up to 40 per cent of the assets hidden in bank accounts abroad, if discovered. Fiscal services are ready to consider some measures of clemency for those who come forward on their own accord, according to Le Monde.

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