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An overview of the stories making the French and international newspaper headlines. From Monday to Friday live at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2011-01-11

A maximum salary?

French papers are leading on economic issues from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s talks with President Barack Obama preparing the ground for the G20 to a survey showing that three out of four French people are in favour of a maximum salary. That’s the focus of the French Press Review for Tuesday, 11th January 2011.

Le Figaro is leading on the meeting between President Nicolas Sarkozy and President Barack Obama in Washington with the headline: « a common front against terrorism ». It reports the two leaders were firmly united on the issue. The US president called France “an exceptional partner in the fight against terror”. Sarkozy is quoted as saying “weakness would be dangerous, a reason to feel guilt.”

The paper points out Sarkozy’s main reason for the US visit is to prepare the ground for G20 negotiations on global financial reforms. The Le Figaro editorial, by Pierre Rousselin, is headlined: “Sarkozy’s G20 challenge”. It says that while the American model was under attack two years ago, the current euro crisis shows Europeans need more humility. Rousselin says that the world has become too complex for one or two superpowers to lay down the law.

Le Parisien headlines: «Sarkozy is struggling to convince Barack Obama”. One area of disagreement, it says, centres on how to beef up the IMF’s role in global finance. The left-wing daily Libération echoes those difficulties . One of its articles says: “it is the dialogue of the deaf”. It says that, while the two leaders are saying how good bilateral ties are, they have not said how their positions on reforming global finance have become any closer. The paper says that while France is worried about the dollar, the US is worried about the euro.

Staying with Libération, it leads on the wave of riots and demonstrations in Tunisia. It has the headline: « Silence, Ben Ali reprime », a reference to Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali who, the paper says, is engaged in a crackdown. The Libération editorial, by Laurent Joffrin, calls Ben Ali the “Ceaucescu of the Sands”. Joffrin says that when young Tunisians protest at high unemployment, he sends in the police. When they continue protests, he calls them terrorists. And when international observers express concern, his response is to say they want to destabilise Tunisia.

Le Monde has an editorial: “Paris’s silence on the Tunisian tragedy”. It says the events in Tunisia are the most important since the 1980s but Paris’s lack of response is a marked contrast to the United States which has said individual freedoms in Tunisia must be respected. The paper argues France’s “silence” veers towards complicity or at least conveys the impression of indifference.

The far-left paper L’Humanité asks whether there should be a maximum salary in France. It has an exclusive survey, carried out by IFOP, which shows that three out of four French people think a cap on salaries is a good idea. The paper says the French cannot bear the idea that some people - ie the bosses of big corporations - can earn 500 times the minimum wage. The paper’s editorial, by Maurice Ulrich, says: “France’s hyper-rich are living like parasites on the mass of people”. Ulrich comments people have the choice between laughing or expressing indignation about Nicolas Sarkozy’s current talks with Barack Obama in Washington on how to reform global finance.

Still on economic issues, the Ardennes paper - « L’Ardennais » - has a front page report on the French state “selling off the family silver”. The Ardennes is near France’s border with Belgium. The paper’s front page says a regional monument, the Fort of Charlemont, is open to offers. A sign, along with several others in today’s French papers, that the country is tightening its belt and is braced for economc woes.
 

By Nicholas RUSHWORTH

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