French press review 14 July 2015

Most of the French papers are happy to take a day off, worn out, like the rest of us, by the Greek crisis, delighted to celebrate the French national holiday by staying in bed. For the others, there's no escape from the agonies of Athens. And the Greek saga may not be as over as we've been encouraged to believe.


Le Monde's main headline reads "Europe keeps Greece in eurozone and avoids implosion", a view of events which may turn out to be overly optimistic.

Libération laments "A national defeat" for the Greek people, suggesting that the deal finally agreed in Brussels early yesterday effectively put Athens under European control. The left-leaning paper wonders if we haven't witnessed a financial coup d'état against the government of Alexis Tsipras.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

And then there's right-wing Le Figaro, worrying about how much this whole shambles is going to cost the rest of Europe, in terms of cash and credibility. Eighty-six billion euros is the answer to the cash question. As for the credibilty of the euro on the world market and the overall standing of the European Union as a political experiment, the costs have yet to be calculated.

Of course, all of this is purely hypotethical for the moment, since Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is not going to have an easy time convincing his political partners and the people who voted for them that this is a good deal. Especially since a majority of Greek voters were happy to reject this very compromise in their referendum just nine days ago.

Most analysts say Tsipras will get the necessary legislation through, because he'll have the support of huge swathes of the opposition, but the question then becomes how long he can last as prime minister without the support of all of his own Syriza party and its coalition allies.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also have a tough time selling this package to the hardliners in her own camp.

Libération reminds us that the members of the German Bundestag, already wearing little more than flip-flops and sun cream, will be hauled back from their holidays for a special session next Friday to debate the salvage deal. You can bet they'll be a happy bunch of campers. Especially since they know that 85 per cent of the German electorate is against giving any more money to the Greeks.

Several members of her own CDU party have already said they'll vote against the proposals. The German press is suggesting that as many as half Merkel's parliamentary colleagues could rebel. That would leave the decision in the hands of her coalition partners, the social-democratic SPD.

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The long-term implications of this deal, which some analysts say turns Greece into a protectorate, with billions of euros worth of public assets to be placed in a trust fund controlled by Brussels, are not going to be lost on the opponents of the European Union.

On its inside pages Libération reports the heartening news that all 3,776 vertical metres of Japan's Mount Fuji are now equipped with Wifi. And the service is free. This is intended to allow climbers to send texts and photos to their friends as they struggle to the summit.

On its debate pages Libération publishes a letter from 20 NGOs and trade unions, warning that France has made a mistake in ignoring the development conference currently taking place in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Because development and climate change are two sides of the same coin, say the writers, the Ethiopian meeting should have been seen as a preparation for the climate talks due to be held in Paris in December. And this reinforces an ongoing shrinkage of French responsibility for development, with overseas aid now at it lowest level for a decade.

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