Where there's smoke ...
Cigarette prices go up six per cent in price today in France. Is it enough to reduce the number of smokers or just a smokescreen for filling state coffers? One paper fumes: just what use is the price hike? That’s the focus in today’s French press review: MONDAY, 2ND NOVEMBER 2010
France Soir says the tax on tobacco is unfair. While it brings in revenue, it is not succeeding in cutting the number of smokers and hits the poorest hardest.
Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui-en-France says the state will get 660 million euros extra in its coffers with the 30 cent increase. It points out that smokers are paying 85 per cent more than they were a decade ago. The paper quotes an anti-tobacco campaigner saying there should be a ten per cent hike and the government is only pretending to fight smoking. It says much of what is going up in smoke is for the tax office. A mere 68 euros cents goes to the manufacturers out of a price of five euros ninety for the most popular brand.
The other main story in France concerns the ongoing debate and dispute about pension reform.
Le Figaro headlines that two of the main unions are split. Parliament has voted to hike the retirement age from 60 to 62 and unions are discussing how to move forward. Le Figaro says one union wants to continue protests, while another doesn’t. The right-wing paper says unity among the unions has been a “mirage” and they failed to workers in the private sector out on to the street in sufficient numbers.
Another right-wing paper, the business daily Les Echos, says President Nicolas Sarkozy has three challenges after pushing pension reform through. They include a reshuffle, making a success of France’s presidency of the G20 and getting public opinion back on his side.
L’Humanité, the hard left paper in France, reports that the fight will go on, anger remains. It says one point two million people protested on Saturday and the people in the marches showed they were determined to convince the President, Nicolas Sarkozy, that he needs to backtrack on pension reform.
Libération says President Sarkozy has « eighteen months to avoid retirement himself”, a reference to the looming 2012 presidential vote. The paper, in its editorial, says Sarkozy could become a champion of the poor and more attentive to the unions in a bid for a second five-year term.
And what kind of image is that for Paris? A London cab! Cor blimey, mate. Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui-en-France reports the iconic taxi has been given the green light to drive in Paris. They’ll be on sale to taxi companies at 33,900 euros. They'll compete with ranks of Mercedes and the one or two tuk-tuks. It’ll be so-o-o-o weird to see them near the Eiffel Tower.