French press review 30 March 2016


Has President François Hollande lost touch with the French people? Is it reasonable to double a boss's salary while his workers continue to struggle with austerity? Are the Taliban trying to re-take the media spotlight from Islamic State?


The main story in Le Monde looks at the latest scandal to hit the French food industry as yet another abattoir is shown to treat animals with appalling cruelty.

Libération tries to explain what it's like to live as a woman among the Afghan jihadists currently taking refuge in Pakistan. According to Libé, the condemnation by some local islamists of the Easter Sunday attack on Christians in Lahore reveals deep divisions within the Taliban organisation, a hardline muslim operation which has tended to be overshadowed by the "success" of the Islamic State armed group.

Catholic La Croix looks to Libya where the population awaits a government capable of pacifying and ruling the current total chaos, a situation which has already contributed tragically to the European migrant crisis and in which Islamic State is taking a growing interest.

Communist L'Humanité wants everybody out on the streets tomorrow for another day of protest against proposed changes to French labour law.

And right-wing Le Figaro looks at the suburban no-go areas here in France which a government minister has described as the local equivalent of the Belgian capital's Molenbeek, home or hideout of those responsible for many recent terrorist atrocities.

Lost leader?

On inside pages, Le Monde devotes space to the French leader, François Hollande, describing a man increasingly isolated from the ordinary citizen and who appears to have lost much of his political agility.

The president continues to hold informal meetings with a huge number of people including political allies, business figures, journalists, especially sports writers, and an ever increasing number of so-called communications specialists, the sort of people who could, for example, help a lame dog to get re-elected.

One horrified deputy says these advisors have replaced the electorate in contributing to the president's conception of contemporary France. Politicians with everyday concerns find it increasingly difficult to meet the national leader.

French urban terror

Le Figaro's editorial has warm praise for Urban Areas Minister Patrick Kaner, widely criticised for observing that many parts of urban France are "potentially similar" to Molenbeek in Brussels.

The right-wing paper wants an outright war against gangsterism, delinquency, drug dealing and all the other evils associated with illegal immigration, the failure of the school system, the increasing popularity of salafism and the laxity of the French legal and prison regime.

What a shame, laments the conservative daily, that the billions of euros spent on suburban regeneration have led, in so many cases, to such complete failure. And that the voices raised to question that waste of resources have been accused of racism and reactionary thinking.

When the present government was in opposition it routinely objected to efforts to re-establish public order.

What is needed, says Le Figaro, is not more money but the courage to take the correct decisions.

I'm all right Jacques . . .

Speaking of more money, the editorial in Catholic La Croix looks at the case of Carlos Tavares, boss of the car company Peugeot-Citröen. Things are going well since Carlos took over, so he's had a salary increase . . . from 2.75 million euros per year to 5.24 million. Not bad, given that ordinary shareholders have, once again, had to go without any return on their investment, and that ordinary employees are still constrained by the austerity policy put in place several years ago.

Trade union leaders want to see everyone profit from the company's success. The boss of the bosses' union, Pierre Gattaz, is worried this will result in a general lowering of take-home pay for his members, the bosses.

Which is worse, wonders La Croix: a general lowering or a total distortion at the summit?

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning