French press review 27 May 2016


The Communist daily brings out the trumpet and clearly celebrates what it calls “the extension of key sectors of the economy affected” by the strike led by the radical leftist union the CGT – the blocade of roads and bridges, while train and Metro drivers as well as air traffic controllers staged walkouts or called rolling strikes starting from June 10 when France hosts the Euro 2016 football championship.

“Trial balloons, declarations and counter declarations, denials, tension even within the ruling majority, a crisis of nerves”. This is how the Communist daily describes the mood within President Hollande’s Socialist party.

According to L’Humanité, cracks are appearing on the locked mechanism of the so-called destoyers of the Labour code who in the paper’s own words are driven by a splendid feeling of isolation and the temptation to burn everything to the ground.

And as l’Huma puts it, 10 days from the opening of the Euro, the ball is clearly and more than ever before in President Hollande’s camp adding that playing for time is clearly a luxury he can’t afford.

Le Figaro

The right-wing newspaper claims that Prime Minister Manuel Valls’ intransigence is causing unease within the Socialist in the wake of the violent twist the protests have taken.

After eight days of mobilization against the so-called El Khomri laws (named after labour Minister Marian el Khomri, the right-wing publication holds that it is no longer just the back bench rebels but “orthodox socialists like the party’s chief whip in parliament Bruno Le Roux and Finance Minister Michel Sapin,  who are clamouring for a reconsideration of the legislation’s content, including the controversial article 2 of the legislation enshrining in-company accord as the new rule of social dialogue.


“Where is the way out?”, headlines the left-leaning newspaper. Libé goes on to question whether the government should stand firm on the legislation and if the Elysée still has any manoeuvering room left to weather the gathering storm. .

Les Echos

The economic newspaper quotes police saying that 150,000 protesters nation-wide turned out on Thursday to press demands for the scrapping of the legislation.

It claims that “President Hollande and his Prime Minister erred by betting on a popular backlash against the CGT union for trying shutting down the country”.

It is the reverse that has happened, observes the newspaper.

Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France

According to the newspaper, “it’s not worth the trouble, re-writing the El Khomry laws simply for face-saving reasons”.

The Parisian daily warns that the legislation almost led to tragedy Thursday when a CGT unionist sustained serious injuries after being hit by an angry trucker.

From its point of view, “it shouldn’t take the loss of life, for the disputing parties to end their war postures and violence”.

According to le Parisien, “after yesterday’s protests, violence and arrests by police, nothing changed” arguing that it is high time Philippe Martinez – the CGT union’s leader – and Prime Minister Manuel Valls who have been “pomping their chest in turns” to “call a truce, prevent a paralysis of the French economy and return to the negotiation table”.

Le Figaro

As Prime Minister Manuel Valls struggles” to end the great social chaos”, the right-wing daily names three major firms it accuses of trying to shut down the transport network and disrupt electricity supply : the railway corporation SNCF, the Parisian public transport company, RATP,  and EDF, the national electricity corporation.

Le Figaro claims that these are “precisely the people who work less than others yet benefit from life time jobs and a generous a retirement scheme”.

According to ther right-wing paper, “paradoxically, it is those who profit from an extraordinary status who have made opposition to progress their daily battle”.

For Le Figaro, such is the nature of what is at stake at the moment. The journal also warns that if these civil servants succeed in forcing the government to scrap a law concerning only private sector workers, reform-minded legislators need to forget ever taking on the public service described as the “great mammoth which doesn’t work 35 hours per week”.



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