The French President has announced a massive emergency aid package for French farmers, saying that “France has a carnal link with agriculture…which is part of our national identity”.
Business paper La Tribune leads with Nicolas Sarkozy’s announcement of a massive state aid package worth 1.65 billion euros for France’s farmers. Incomes in agriculture dropped by 20% last year and a similar drop is expected in the figures for 2009. The package is made up of €1 billion in bank loans over five years and €650,000 in direct state aid.
Paris did not consult the European Commission in advance of the move. Brussels may question the compatibility of the aid package with EU competition laws.
Nicolas Sarkozy also managed to speak about national identity - the buzz phrase of the week since the Immigration Minister called for a big debate on the matter.
“France has a carnal link with agriculture and…with the earth. The Earth is part of our national identity,” he said.
Le Figaro also covered the news saying the President was given a massive welcome by farming unions. They got about 80% of the aid they requested.
Other stories covered in today’s French papers:
Pasqua pays the price
A Paris court handed down tough sentences yesterday for those involved in the Angolagate scandal for the illegal sale of arms to Angola in the 1990s. A former minister, Charles Pasqua was handed down a one-year prison sentence.
Young people not afraid of the crisis
A poll shows that a majority of 15 – 25 year olds still believe in their future, despite the crisis.
Football hooliganism is condemned in an article in Le Monde which says the cancellation of a Paris Saint Germain – Olympique Marseille match on Sunday is no excuse for the violence that ensued.