French press review 28 May 2016


French Prime Minister Manuel Valls digs in for a tug of war on labour reforms with  radical Unions threatening to wreck France's hosting of the Euro 2016 football championships. Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly blasts President Hollande as a "sandman paying the price of his falsehood" and the press set the stage for tonight's Champions League "neighbours fest" between Spanish giants Atletico and Real Madrid.  


We start with the social crisis rocking France and questions about who is likely to win the war of nerves pitting the government against the radical CGT union over the bill on labour reform.

Le Parisien /Aujourd'hui en France

The Parisian newspaper examines Prime Minister Manuel Valls' determination "to see the labour law through" despite all odds. Aujourd'hui en France takes note of his resolve to ensure the adoption of the much-contested article 2 of the bill which seeks to enshrine companies, as the new platform for all labour negotiations.

By the provisions of the current legislation, such negotiations are organized under professional sectors where the unions throw the national weight around. Unions such as the radical leftist General Workers Confederation, the CGT, reportedly fear that the new rules would dilute the powers nationally.

Le Monde

The evening publication wonders in a front-page question, whether Prime Minister Manuel Valls has lost the battle for public opinion. According to Le Monde, for most French citizens, the government is to blame for the tensions rocking the country. It upholds the view that the "impopularity of the executive has even boosted the rejection of the labour laws".


The Communist party daily publishes the full text of the so-called El Khomri labour reform bill, as it puts it, so that every one can "judge the historical regression" it constitutes, in the paper's own words. The Communist newspaper actually claims that the solid "front mounted by the unions has opened cracks in the governing clan".


The left-leaning publication brandishes one of the cracks. It is an open letter addressed to President Hollande signed by 58 Socialist lawmakers urging him to make a choice of what they called a courageous and appeasing choice. This after he vowed to stay the course and see the reform through.


The regional newspaper sums it all in a telling editorial. It claims that El Khomri laws have shed light on "the schism that has occured in the life of French unionism, between the tenants of a hardline dogmatism and reformers".

According to L'Alsace, the CGT weary of losing its influence as the leading union, has become the most striking symbol of the radicalization, while the CFDT and the CGC displayed their commitment to reform the labour laws that are "short in flexibility".

In the paper's view, that explains their openness to dialogue with the government although their resolve was likely to render any reconciliation of union action more difficult, according to the newspaper.

Le Figaro

The right-wing newspaper highlights an angry outburst by the main opposition leader Nicolas Sarkozy against President Francois Hollande during a campaign trip to the overseas French territory of La Reunion.

"We've heard the nonsense and lies from a "sandman" who promised you everything and delivered nothing" thundered the ex-President and leader of the Les Républicains party who wooed voters ahead of his party's Presidential primaries in November. According to Le Figaro, Sarkozy also described the violent protests and blocades rocking France as "the price of Hollande's falsehood".


The sports daily sets the stage for tonight's Champions League "neighbours' feast" between Madrid giants Real and Atletico as they battle for European football supremacy. According to L'Equipe, the match at the San Siro stadium in Milan promises to be an "ideal final" pitting Zinedine Zidane's star-studded Real and Antoine Griezmann's "hyper realistic Atletico".







Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning