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French press review 19 August 2015


In the French papers suspicion grows over plans to extend Sunday trading, as trade unions announce a long-drawn-out war with the government. And the heat gets turned up as more couples turn to swinging to spice up their love lives.


"Don't be fooled!" writes L'Humanité over plans to open more shops on Sunday. "It's a trap to sacrifice our cherished Sunday, to make big bosses richer."

The fiery tone is characteristic of the Communist paper, which still hasn't come to terms with the passage of Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron's law on 7 August, one of whose provision allowed shops in tourist zones to stay open on Sunday to attract more foreign visitors.

It's a downright lie to insinuate that tourists only come to France on Sunday, Huma argues, and, secondly, to believe that they come to one of the most culturally rich countries to do shopping. It's clear that the government is only putting business interests first, the paper says.

Wrong, argues Le Figaro. How can you have workers' rights when there's no economic growth? This is the main concern of the conservative paper. It says next year's budget could flop because there's no money to push forward ambitious reforms in the pension and education system.

France is like a snake turning around on itself in circles, Figaro sums up, basically going nowhere.

Left-leaning Libération, looks at the "dangerous liaisons" between police and their informers, revealed by a recent drug-trafficking scandal. Police officers are pulled up for getting too close to their sources and not actually getting the proof they need.

It turns out it's actually quite a lucrative business to be a police spy, a trade which could earn you as much as 10,000 euros. And one officer even reported that he saw a source  paid a whopping 50,000 euros.

It makes you wonder where all this money is coming from if there's zero growth. Either the interior ministry is the only department thriving and not affected by the economic slowdown or it has wads of cash stashed somewhere that we don't know about.

Still on the theme of dangerous liaisons, Libé writes that more couples are swapping partners, as entries to swingers' clubs shoot up. What's new is that the trend is increasingly popular among the under-35s.

Traditionally, you've always had a much older crowd going to these clubs to spice up their sex lives. But now even young men and women are going, apparently, because the clubs have become more sophisticated and less trashy.

So, something to think about for this coming weekend.

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