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France

French press review 26 September 2017

media

President Macron faces a new dilemma as he unveils his plan to revamp the EU, with a "weakened" German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

The French commentators are all looking forward to President Emmanuel Macron's key note address at the Sorbonne University in Paris this Tuesday where he is expected to outline his plan to strengthen the institutions of the Eurozone and deepen the integration of the EU bloc

This as Europe prepares for Britain's departure from the European Union.

But as several papers observe in a series of lead articles, Macron's lofty plans have been seriously undermined by the outcome of Sunday's elections in Germany.

Despite acknowledging Chancellor Angela Merkel's re-election for a 4th consecutive term, Le Figaro says she emerged from the polls weakened by the spectacular entry into the Bundestag of the anti-Islam, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party which won about 13 percent of the votes.

According to the right-wing publication,with the AfD emerging as Germany's third-biggest political force, Merkel now needs to rally a country shocked and traumatized by the scattered electoral landscape.

Le Monde also deplores the entry of Germany into what it describes as a zone of turbulence. The paper says it is of great concern to realize that the Afd succeeded to seduce such an important part of Germany's electorate.

That's bad news, it says, for Europe first and then President Macron.

According to Le Monde, Europe won't get much done while Germany enters a long tunnel of negotiations to form a new government.

La Croix wonders if Angela Merkel can still conjure her proven political talent to respond to the aspirations for a pro-European consensus raised by Macron.

From Le Figaro's point of view, a sort of "Jamaican" alliance, grouping Merkel's black (CDU), the yellow of the pro-business Free Democratic Party and the Greens is likely to see the light of day in Germany when the new government in Berlin is announced.

That won’t be good news for President Macron it argues.

According to Le Figaro, the Merkel he will have to work with in building a Europe that protects its citizens, its borders, jobs and a competitive economy will be weak after being bitten on the foot and dependent on anti-European opponents.

Libération for its part, notes that Germany ended up being contaminated by a party of identity-minded xenophobes who have stormed their way into parliament.

Just like France where the National Front scored 20 percent in the 2017 Presidential elections.

But the left-wing paper claims it would be an exaggeration to say that the Nazis are at France's borders, despite the Afd's structures and nationalistic rhetoric which resemble to a certain extent the dreadful Nazi party that was active in Germany between 1920 and 1945.

With regard to President Macron's Europe address at the Sorbonne, Libé says it will be a mistake on his part to try to sermonize the Germans about the identity fears of some of Europe's people in the wake of social disruptions and anxieties arising from uncontrolled globalization.

 
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