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French Press Review 16 January 2018


Rich are big winners from Macron administration. Movie star "Slut" apologises in vicious row over sexual harassment.

The front page of le Monde carries a story headlined "The rich, big winners of the first measures of Macron."

According to the French Economic Observatory, the paper reports "the 5% of wealthiest households capture 42% of gains" resulting from changes made by the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

The paper reminds readers that at street protests in Paris in September against the reform of France's labour laws Macron was vilified as "the President of the rich!" The accusation arose from plans to eliminate a tax on wealth, the lowering of tax on capital income, a decrease in housing benefit and a reduction in subsidised jobs.

The new government's first budget was passed in December without a hitch. It was characterised as "a transformation budget to serve the purchasing power of the French." All would benefit from package.

"Really ?" asks le Monde.

A study of the French Observatory of Economic Conditions published yesterday explores the impact of this.

This year, the 5% of the least well off will see their standard of living fall. The wealthiest 5% will see theirs rise, the paper reports.

During last year's Presidential election campaign some observers suspected that Macron, who had served in the outgoing Socialist government, was really a Trojan-horse for his political mentor the Socialist President François Hollande. How wrong they were.


Le Monde also brings us the latest on the row that took flight when it published a manifesto signed by scores of women opposed to what they consider the "new puritanism" that's resulted from the global fuss over sexual harassment, declaring that ""We defend a freedom to annoy, indispensable to sexual freedom"

The star signatory was the veteran French movie actress Catherine Deneuve and the "manifesto" provoked an outcry from militant feminists.

The latest is "Deneuve apologises to "victims who may have felt aggrieved"

"I was criticised for not being a feminist," says Deneuve, who recalls being characterised as "one of the 343 sluts  who signed the manifesto". But, "nothing in the text claims that harassment is good, otherwise I would not have signed it. "

Yesterday, you may recall, Marlène Schiappa, France’s freshly appointed gender equality minister is quoted as telling le Figaro "We have in France a special relationship between men and women, what we could call" French love," She said "We want the right to be seduced."

Oh la, la!

It's a hot issue and le Monde along with other paper recognises this.

On the same subject it offers conductor Charles Dutoit accused of sexual assault; American actor James Franco accused of inappropriate behaviour by five women.

Catherine Deneuve is a free and unpredictable actress who does not taste the dominant waves.

Feminism criticised in the name of sexual freedom

As we journos say, this one will run and run.


Several papers anticipate today's visit by President Macron to the northern port city of Calais.

The issue is the continuing, albeit, lessened problem with illegal migrants gathered near the entrance to the Channel tunnel and ferry terminal in the hope of smuggling themselves into the UK.

The Elysée Palace welcomes the fact that the border is "better controlled" and the presence of migrants in Calais is "contained", the paper says, with only "between 350 and 500" migrants encamped in the area, mainly from the Horn of Africa and of Afghanistan, against nearly 8,000 before the dismantling of the so-called "jungle" fourteen months ago.

The paper tells us Macron's visit is being boycotted by NGOs angry over the destruction of migrant dwellings and property.

Government is worried that the problem is far from ended. "In the space of a few months, the number of migrants has doubled in Ouistreham," Christophe Blanchet, the République En Marche MP for Calvados is quoted as saying. He is concerned about the inadequacy of resources deployed in the face of what he calls an "inexorably growing" flow of migrants.

Communist daily l'Humanité is on the side of the migrants. "Monsieur le President, treat the migrants humanely!" bellow its front page headline.

The paper's editorial is entitled "France, land of exile," reflecting the country's long history of welcoming refugees.

It wants to "welcome, protect, progress and integrate." Not so the current government the paper thinks.

The Catholic daily la Croix says the migrant situation in Calais remains "complicated."

I think we knew that.


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