France’s papers lead on Thursday’s Brussels summit aimed at keeping Greece on board in the eurozone. Photos of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy dominate. But the French are being told that, while a solution has been found, it'll cost them. That’s the focus for this Friday, 22nd July 2011.
Le Figaro is headlining “Europe saves Greece and strengthens the euro” in “a united front to avoid contagion”. The paper compares this latest round of the euro crisis to a spot of firefighting: the Greek wildfire has been put out. Lots of the French press, however, stress just how difficult it was. Berlin and Paris held seven hours of talks on Wednesday and there were phone calls round the clock prior to Thursday’s Brussels summit. The paper warns its readers that a lot more fiscal discipline will be needed in France from now on. It says Paris is pledging to keep its public deficit to within 3% of GDP by 2013 at the latest. Belt-tightening measures will include only replacing one out of two civil servants going into retirement.
The business daily Les Echos says the agreement on a second Greek bailout is historic. The Franco-German couple - Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel – have played starring roles once again, it says. But it asks whether the Paris-Berlin tandem can continue in the long-term, and wonders whether the EU project will only get a new lease of life when a new German Chancellor comes to power.
The left-wing daily Libération asks: “Qui va payer?” (“Who is going to pay?”). It answers by detailing the financing for states and banks. While saying the deal had to be reached by using forceps, it quotes a European diplomat saying "all the taboos in discussions were dropped".
Le Parisien leads on a craze for Twitter in France. Two million people have signed up here so far. Leading politicians are getting 10 to 20 thousand followers on average, a long way from Barack Obama who has more than nine million. The paper’s cartoon shows a guy at the beach tweeting and his wife saying: "You’ve said how hot and nice it is 15 times". “Yeah,” he replies, “this is a great way of annoying my friends in Paris”. A bit of one-upmanship that hurts. It is cold and rainy in the French capital.