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French press review 14 September 2018


President Macron woes the Left with anti-poverty handshake,but commentators irked by his rant about wasteful social spending won't buy his offer.

The publications are all about President Emmanuel Macron’s eight billion euro plan to fight stubborn poverty in France.

Le Parisien reports that under the four-year package priority will be placed on improving the life chances of children born into low-income families.

The paper says the plan includes free breakfasts for the poorest children as well as subsidized school lunches priced at a euro. France's most deprived towns will be given funding to open new daycare centers.

According to the popular publication, completely free healthcare will be extended to several million more people while various back-to-work schemes will be extended, including a programme allowing unskilled workers to get paid at the end of every day's labour.

Le Parisien also reports that under the reform, young people will be obliged to stay in some form of education or training until 18, up from 16 previously, in a bid to boost employability in districts with high school dropout rates.

Some publications acknowledge Macron's attempt to win back support from left-wingers who say his policies have left the poorest behind. But as l'Humanité says it won't forget his explosive outburst in June about "crazy amounts of dough spent by the State on social welfare without it lifting people out of poverty".

Le Figaro satirizes about the rather weird left handshake extended by Macron while stepping forward with his left foot after one year of right-wing policies.

The conservative publication says he made the swing from the right to the left without trafficating, leaving the French people with the impression that he is trying to swap the garments if a rich man’s president for those of a President of the people.

"Macron holds out his left hand for a handshake," reads Libération. The paper denounces the proposal to merge minimum social welfare grants into a single universal activity grant by 2020 as much ado about nothing.

Libé wonders in an editorial how Monsieur Macron can be President of the rich and President of the poor at the same time.

Les Echos for its part, welcomes President Macron’s move to prove to the country that he not only has a left leg, but also the capacity to innovate, which his predecessors, allegedly didn’t have.

But the economic newspaper says it will rather wait for Macron to convert the try of his intentions, before passing any opinion about the anti-poverty plan.

La Montagne/Centre France says it is quite amusing to see Macron describe poverty as a scandal. It is as if he has been touched by the hand of God, says the regional publication.

For La Croix, the President's appeal to the mountain guide not to forget the climbers coming behind, recalls his decision to repeal the capital gains tax, which resulted in a sharp decline in charity donations.

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