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France

French Press review 5 March 2018

media

Merkel wins electoral gamble to form a second grand coalition, while Italy's Berlusconi's 5-star coalition fails to secure a governing majority.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is on all the front pages as the papers reflect on her successful gamble to form a new grand coalition with Social Democrats.

This was after two in three of the centre-left SPD's rank and file voting in a crunch referendum backed the new partnership which Merkel's conservatives sought for the "good of Germany" as the veteran leader goes into her fourth term.

While the deal heralds an end to the political stalemate that has plagued Europe's biggest economy since September's inconclusive elections, Le Figaro claims that Merkel’s place in history will not be guaranteed unless she partners with French President Emmanuel Macron to champion a new deal on Europe.

The publication believes it will not be easy to strike a deal, arguing that it is unlikely for her grand coalition to agree on the substantive issues of European reconstruction notably the diverging interests with Paris on immigration policy.

Another stumbling block identified by Le Figaro is that Eastern EU countries driven by rising populism will also want to have their say. This, in addition to the new unknown political situation in Italy, which is only likely to complicate the equation.

And talking about the elections in Italy, Le Parisien reports that exit polls raise serious doubts about the ability of the Berlusconi-backed 5-Star movement to form a new government.

From the paper's point of view, the populist coalition set up by right and far-right parties projected to score about 32 percent of ballots cast making them the largest political bloc in the country.

But it doesn’t think that will be enough to dictate the terms of politics over the center-left Democratic party of Matteo Renzi which is expected to garner over 23 percent of the vote.

La Croix comments about the fallout from Donald Trump's rhetoric at the weekend, when he tweeted about calling time on America's "friends and enemies who have taken advantage of the US for many years".

The US President spoke at he announced his intention to move forward with controversial import tariffs of up to 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, in order to revive the American industries which he described as dead.

The paper says that the move, which is part of the president's "American First" protectionist drive, was met with fury across the world with officials from Beijing to Brussels raising concerns about a looming global trade war.

According to the Catholic daily, contrary to Trump's assertions that trade wars are good and easy to win, there is no profit to make and a lot to lose from fighting allies in the markets.

Right-wing l'Opinion says Donald Trump is making a terrible mistake noting that customs barriers are definitely bad for economic growth, inefficient in job creation and dangerous for geostrategic balances.

 
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