French press review 7 August 2017


Should we be afraid of the rise of the euro? That is the main question Le Figaro is asking this morning.

Since the beginning of the year the currency has gained 12.2 percent in relation to the US dollar, due to a more vigorous economy in the eurozone as well as political instability in Washington.

For Europeans on holiday abroad, this is good news. But it’s not necessarily a good omen for the French economy, as Le Figaro explains.

For exporters producing in the eurozone, a strong euro could make them less competitive.

Airbus is one example. Its deputy CEO says that a 10-cent variation in the currency could take a billion-euro bite out of the company’s revenue.

One economist interviewed by Le Figaro says that France has benefitted from a lower euro and has more to lose than Germany, which has a stronger domestic market and is less sensitive to competition.

In its editorial Le Figaro says France has so far failed to take advantage of the low currency and interest rates in Europe, hence its poor economic performance compared to some of its neighbours.

Pressure is now on the new French government to catch up with them and bring competitivity back by simplifying regulations and reducing both tax and public spending, according to Le Figaro.

Socialist Party in intensive care

Libération is more concerned with France’s domestic politics and the dismal state of its Socialist Party (PS).

Libération’s diagnosis is pretty grim. “The Socialist Party in internsive care,” reads its headline.

“Undermined by recent electoral defeat and the poor results of François Hollande’s government, the party is now down to just 31 MPs,” Libération reminds its readers. “The political line, torn between the left and right wings, is yet to be defined.”

But the paper brings some historical perspective to the party’s endeavours, drawing a parallel with the late 1960s, when the Socialist Party’s predecessor was heavily defeated in both the presidential and general elections.

According to Libération, this dark chapter in its history forced the party to unite the left and reaffirm its socialist identity – and ultimately led to François Mitterrand’s victory in the 1981 presidential election.

So can the Socialists take inspiration from their past and find a new lease of life?

In its pessimistic editorial Libération doesn’t seem to have much hope.

“The party’s survivors are divided,” it says. “Between the Hamonists, the Vallsists, the Macronists, all these ists which are devastating for the left, the youth seems to be reproducing the same divisions as their predecessors.”

World football’s “crazy logic”

Le Monde has yet to get over Paris Saint-Germain’s signing of Brazilian forward Neymar.

In its editorial the paper says the sums involved are “unreal” – 220 million euros for the buyout clause and 30 million euros a year for the player’s salary.

From a political and financial standpoint, these sums are not as absurd as they sound, Le Monde explains, since the player’s celebrity status will generate huge profits for both his club and the French league as a whole. More cynically, his transfer will also provide a diplomatic boost to the club’s owners, Qatar.

But Le Monde says it would be nice to see some redistribution, as the sum spent on this one transfer is geater than the budgets of all 20 of France’s second division teams.

Le Monde goes on to conclude, rather philosophically, that “modern football is a cruel reflection of a world where the rich are getting richer and the rest are getting more vulnerable”.

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