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France

French weekly magazine review 6 March 2016

media DR

Another week and the French weeklies all talking about different subjects. L'Express  wonders who will save the European Schengen space, while Le Point goes all out against Martine Aubry. L'Obs kindly thinks of the leftist voters and Marianne wonders what could possibly make Donald Trump so popular.

Let’s start by Le Canard Enchainé, the satirical paper always has always funny cartoons.

There’s one that's particularly clever this week. The cartoon is titled “2016: Leap year”. In it, you’ll find French President François Hollande looking through a window. “One more day of unpopularity” he sighs.

Le Point is headlining on “the last dinosaurs”, but rest assured, the right-wing weekly isn’t headlining on a scientific story. That’s the term it uses to describe politicians, including Lille mayor Martine Aubry, who are against the controversial labour law reform.

“The opponents of the reform are pretending to be defending the unemployed. Actually, they are they’re worst enemy” says an article. Le Point goes all out against Aubry, who is accused of having “introduced the mortal poison that is the 35 hours workweek”. The current labour law, that is very protective of the rights of employees, is the reason unemployment is so high in France argues the magazine.

“For the unions, unemployed people are first seen as a threat to those they really defend: employees” writes Le Point which says everything has to change in France. Thing is, says the weekly, it’s easier to earn votes by defending 20 million -employed- people, that by standing up for the rights of 3.5 million jobless French citizens.

“If unemployment is that bad, it’s not because of liberalism, Europe or globalisation, but because of those dinosaurs” concludes an editorial.

L’Obs headlines on Finance Minister Emmanuel Macron. It seems that there’s this unspoken rules for the French weeklies: every week, one of them has to devote its cover to Macron. Last week it was L’Express, this week it’s L’Obs that even calls him a rocket.

The left-leaning weekly’s editorial asks an interesting question to leftist voters however: “how are you feeling?”. “What have they done to deserve this?” asks L’Obs, which argues that left voters are feeling betrayed by the way the Socialist government is handling its mandate.

“The political show seen today leaves no other feeling than disarray or despair. Disoriented by its politicians, defeated at the polls, the left is as divided and angry as ever” it continues.

The left electorate has to chose between “the realists and the dreamers”. For the left there’s only one solution argues L’Obs: the organisation of a presidential primary that will reconcile the voters with their politicians.

L’Express wonders if we should burn polemist Michel Onfray.

I’ll give you the short answer: no we shouldn’t, and not just because that would be illegal. Now that this is out of the way, let’s focus on an interesting opinion piece defending the European visa-free Schengen space.

The liberal weekly hails Schengen, created in 1985, as one of the best European successes and an experience “unique in the world”. Such a success that even Switzerland and Norway, who always refused to become members of the EU, chose to integrate it.

“In this Europe without bureaucrats, the only thing that matters is the actual outcome and the facilities offered to citizens to come and go across borders, without fussy control or loss of time at customs posts” writes L’Express.

But the magazine worries that this experience could end very soon if nothing is done. 10 European states, including Belgium and Austria, recently chose to reinstate border controls because of the ongoing migrant crisis. And national states and their selfish interests, explains L’Express, are clearly the one to blame if Schengen cease to exist.

Left-wing Marianne is fascinated by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Marianne, just like the rest of the French press, love to scares itself with Trump. In an editorial, the weekly argues that far from being an anomaly, the rise of the Republican front-runner is far from being a surprise and represents the opinion of part of the American electorate.

“This rise is explained by the fact that Barack Obama led a profoundly empty and elitist presidency” says the weekly. Plus, says the editorial, the US has as profound tradition of choosing presidents “straight from a science fiction” story: think about Reagan who used to be a Western actor or Bush senior, “straight from The Simpsons”.

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