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French press review 10 July 2015

Text by: Clare Sharkey
7 min

Le Figaro opines that the European Union's Schengen accords should be renegotiated and amended whilst L'Humanité argues that Europe would be committing an inexcusable error if it kicks Greece out of the euro. La Croix speculates what the consequences are of the Chinese speculation bubble. And Libération denounces the campaign against converting empty churches in France into mosques as Islamophobic.

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Le Monde online is leading with the Greek proposal to its creditors, presenting a cautious analysis whilst communist daily L'Humanité boldly proclaims that "after the Greek proposals, the council of Europe has no excuse to block the agreement".

Catholic daily La Croix keeps Ukraine on its front page, calling the situation there a quiet war.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

For left-leaning Libération, it is the form and not the substance making the front page: to mark the Photography Festival at Arles, they dedicate their cover and indeed the whole issue to covering the news in photos. Some very stark, beautiful and incisive images from the war in Ukraine, migrants in Calais and snapshots of the French corridors of power.

Le Figaro instead leads with its poll about attitudes towards the Schengen area - that is the zone in which Europeans can cross borders without checks. Many apparently favour reestablishing border controls.

Le Figaro's editorial is also dedicated to the poll. Entitled "European Taboo", it outlines why the paper believes that the Schengen accords should be renegotiated and amended.

This, predictably, is to do with external immigration. The paper opines that Europe is "submerged" by hundreds of thousands of migrants.

Why not bring back border checks, afterall that is the case in airports, Le Figaro asks.

The editorial concludes that the Schengen and the euro were both conceived when Europe was  "happy" but that, if EU leaders refuse to face reality, the EU may end up being no more than a memory.

L'Humanité focuses on Greece in its editorial entitled "Will Europe now how to avoid a mistake?"

Editorialist Jean-Paul Piérot points out that is is no longer taboo to talk about giving Greece's debt a "haircut" - that's technical jargon for cutting the debt - given that IMF chief Christine Lagarde herself has come out said that the debt should be restructured.

Piérot believes that there is a change in the wind for Greece as there is finally a belated recognition of the legitimacy of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras battle to "loosen the noose of austerity strangling the Greek people".

The column concludes that Europe would commit an inexcusable error if it kicks Greece out of the euro.

La Croix's editorial covers the Chinese speculation bubble. In the past three weeks the value of to the Shanghai stock exchange has plummeted by an amount equivalent to 10 times Greece's debt.

That is by 30 per cent and represents 300 billion dollars.

La Croix warns that this is no cause for immediate alarm as the drop has not wiped out the 150 per cent value increase we have seen over the past 12 months, creating a

veritable bubble in the market.

But, longer term, the political impact of this could change China significantly.

The paper points out the Chinese paradox that the country is politically communist but economically capitalist, meaning that the Chinese have been willing to forego some civil liberties in order to benefit from the economic growth - currently at 10 per cent.

But these two threads of governance are difficult to combine. If the stock exhange's activities become difficult to manage for the administration, Chinese political stability could be in danger.

The boss of left-wing Libération revisits the controversy rumbling along in France as to whether empty churches could be turned into mosques.

This is the story that the magazine Valeurs Actuelles has launched a campaign called "Touche pas à mon eglise" (Hands off my church).

Libération describes the slogan as a cringe-worthy pardoy of "Touche pas à mon pote" - (Hands off my friend) of anti-racist group SOS racisme.

The paper further opines that the campaign is clearly Islamophobic and the signatories are more willing to see the churches crumble than allow Muslims to use them.

Opponents of the suggestion would rather see the church buildings being turned into leisure centres, supermarkets and nightclubs.

Instead, says Libé, we are missing a great opportunity to demonstrate brotherhood between the religions, afterall Abraham and Jesus are recognised as prophets in Islam.

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