French press: Delta is dangerous, vaccination is vital, pension reform is postponed
What the main French daily newspapers are saying about Monday night's solemn address to the nation by President Emmanuel Macron.
"Emmanuel Macron forced to put the brakes on Covid, and on his reform plan," is how the main headline in centrist Le Monde sums up last night's 30-minute television address by the French leader.
The widely disputed proposals for pension reform and the reorganisation of social security are, certainly, going ahead. But not immediately. The president has promised that he'll stall the implementation of his major social policy changes until the French economy has a chance to get over the epidemic.
Right-wing Le Figaro puts the emphasis on the dangers of the Delta variant, on compulsory vaccination for care workers, and on the need for a health passport if you want to do practically anything in public this summer.
"Get a shot, or stay at home!" would be a rough translation of the front page headline in left-leaning Libération. The same paper notes that the presidential speech had an immediate impact, 20,000 people making appointments for vaccination every minute after Macron's warning, very nearly bringing the health system's computers to their knees. More than one million people signed up for a shot last night, setting an all-time record.
Practically all the French dailies wonder how businesses which welcome the public are going to organise the checking of health passes. From the start of next month, you'll need proof of vaccination or a negative test to get into anywhere (shops, cafés, museums), or anything (planes, trains and buses), in which there are 50 people or more. There are likely to be delays.
Catholic paper Le Croix says "Macron leaves the non-vaccinated no choice".
Business daily Les Echos says the Delta variant has saved Macron from the dangers of his pension reform. What they mean is that the promised delay in implementing changes which have divided his own party and driven the employers and trade unions to distraction, means that the French leader can shelve all that tough talking until after next year's presidential election.
Finally, communist daily L'Humanité warns us that the president has, once again, tightened the screws, forcing vaccination on everyone, warning that our working lives will be longer and tougher once Emmanuel Macron has the economic and political leeway to impose his neo-liberal vision on the rest of us.
Clearly, the communists were not impressed by a president who promised that we could "invent a future without fear".
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe