France Press Review

French press review 24 September 2018

Hard choices await President Macron as his 2019 Finance Bill is tabled in parliament.


The papers are all about the 2019 Finance bill which is due to be tabled in Parliament this Monday.

Charente Libre claims that after the torments and controversies that marked the government's return from the summer vacation, it is time for face the realities of public accounts.

According to the newspaper the presentation of the bill in parliament will offer the government an opportunity to redeem itself and give President Macron a chance to rise to the responsibilities of his office.

However, it isn't likely that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe can convince the French people that he can find six billion euros in tax breaks to households and still balance the budget.

Libération says it doesn't expect the contents of the draft budget to reverse the negative opinion about Monsieur Macron's economic policies which is widely blamed for his nose-dive in the polls.

According to a new IFOP survey for Le Journal du Dimanche, Macron' popularity rating tumbled by five points falling from 34 percent in August to 29 percent in September -- his lowest score since coming to office.

Libé argues that it is hard to see how he plans to go about promoting growth, restoring confidence, while at the same time supporting investment, effecting cuts in public spending, in order to contain the deficit while at the same time honouring engagement he made while running for President.

Libération states that it is crystal clear that during his first year in office, Macron presented himself as president of the rich. That, according to the paper was evident in his creation of a flat tax, the scrapping of the wealth tax and offer of tax breaks to the corporate sector.

The publication says that by opting for such policies, at a time of falling purchasing power and the shedding of significant numbers of public service jobs, leaves struggling families, especially pensioners, with the impression that in President Macron's mind, people worse hit by his reforms can afford to wait.

For Le Figaro, the single issue Macron needs to be obsessed about in the 2019 budget is the purchasing power of the French people. The conservative daily says it's the top priority on the wish list of respondents to a 5th Barometer published by the HEC des Décideurs Think Tank.

According to the survey carried out by ViaVoice polling institute for HEC Paris, business School for Le Figaro and the TV Channel BFM Business, 59% of French people, (54% of decision makers) consider the increase in the purchasing power of households as President Macron's "priority of priorities".

This, while 73% of the French (62% of decision makers) back the scrapping in the autumn of 2019, of the middle third of the Council tax for 80 percent of papers.

With two years to go to the 2020 Municipal Elections, Le Parisien is already casting lots as to where the political battle grounds will be.

The  paper expects five political dinosaurs to be fighting for their lives, starting from Interior Minister Gerard Collomb who has already announced plans to leave the government to go defend the job in Lyon he abandoned just about a year ago.

Le Parisien doesn't sound too optimistic for Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo who will come under attack from inside her Socialist party and also from the Left and the Right-wing conservative opposition as she seeks a second term.

Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice is bracing for a fratricidal war with his brother Eric Ciotti, while former Socialist party chief, Martine Aubry, sharpens her weapons to try to rescue the long-held leftist bastion of Lille from fangs of far-right nationalists.

Le Parisien presents Marseille's ageing Gaullist Jean Claude Godin as the sole incumbent who will not be seeking re-election during the great 2020 battle.

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