France

French press review 24 August 2013

The summer schools of the Socialist and Greens parties this weekend in La Rochelle and Marseille are the great political attraction of the day but the focus is not on the bear-hugging and horse-trading  but on a rising clamour following the apparentl pledge to introduc an ecological tax.

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Le Monde reports that the new climate-energy levy was announced by a beaming Environment Minister, Philip Martin, to the Greens gathering. The offer, according to the paper, was designed to cajole President Francois Hollande’s grumbling allies.

But, adds Le Monde, the announcement of the new tax alongside a proposal to increase the General Social Contribution (CSG) tax has left the Socialist Party fearing a tax-payers backlash as they face local council elections next year.

Le Figaro says that the new measure is already causing a serious malaise at the Socialist get-toegether. In La Rochelle former presidential candidate Segolène Royal criticised the government for making such an excessive concession to its Green partners. She probably had in mind the uncommitted and lacklustre support they have given the 15-month government. Le Figaro tells voters to expect the worst from the government as it struggles to raise 30 billion euros before 2014.

Aujourd’hui en France says the calls for a tax moratorium are not just coming from Madame Royal but also from National Assembly President Claude Bartolone and foreign minister Laurent Fabius. The paper claims that they are not just embarrassed by the gaffe of announcing a measure due for arbitration in September but also by the fact that it could hurt the little facelift experienced by the economy.

The Socialists themselves are developing a form of schizophrenia, argues Libération. It claims that the idea that taxpayers may be fed up is scary to the government, especially as the rate of compulsory levies is expected to reach 46.3 per cent by 2014, a record over half a century of French taxation trends

The problem of some 15,000 Roms could become a political bomb waiting to explode during next year’s council elections, according to Le Monde.

The paper accuses the government and the opposition of trying to draw political capital from the Roms' plight. It says that Interior Minister Manual Valls’s directive to facilitate the integration of the Roms has fallen flat, while verbal outbursts by some opposition mayors about travellers, often confusing them with the Roms, has discredited the image of the UMP as well.

Le Monde describes the trial of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai, which opened in Jinan on Thursday, as a paradox. The ex-party secretary in Chonqing stands accused of collecting over four million dollars in illicit funds from businesses during his time in the north-eastern city of Dalian, where he held top positions.

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But for Le Monde, while Communist Party officials are confident that Bo’s trial will reduce the damage inflicted by the giant political scandal, it exposes the high-level infighting common among China's ruling elite.

It took much negotiation and compromise within the party’s leadership for the trial to get underway, it says.

Libération reports a breakthrough in the search of a women’s Viagra. There are five pills currently being tested as treatment for disorders caused by sexual hyperactivity.

Libé says that American women who tried the new lybrido spoke about ecstasy never experienced before while others said they felt younger and sexier. The new stimulator is expected to go on sale in 2016 to the pleasure of low libido women.

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