In this look at the French press: Sarkozy's move to deploy police to replace striking airport security staff; the Paris-Ankara row over Armenia 'genocide' bill; and the French are down in the dumps because of the economic crisis, one survey makes them 'Kings of the Blues'. That's the focus for Friday 23rd December 2011.
Libération’s top story is about President Sarkozy’s move to get police to take over security at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport to break the security staff’s strike there and so ensure Christmas flights are guaranteed. It headlines: “Sarkozy dézingue la greve”. That translates as “Sarkozy knocks out” the strike. The paper points out that is a first in France. The security staff want more pay. The paper’s editorial says the government’s “broken up a perfectly legal strike”. It says that the President is campaigning with this. Also, Thursday, the president was visiting the homeless at the Restos du Coeur which gives food hand-outs. The free paper 20 Minutes leads that the requisitioning of police to deal with this is another example of deregulation in union-management relations in France.
Le Monde, meanwhile, has a special feature on homeless at Charles de Gaulle. It says around 100 homeless live there year-round, some have been there for more than ten years. It quotes one of them, Aristide from the Central African Republic, who says it’s like doing a round the world trip seeing passengers come and go.
Le Monde, in its front-page editorial, looks at the move by French MPs to make it illegal to deny the 1915 mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as a genocide. The paper argues that legislation on this serves no purpose. It says "it is not for legislators to rule on what is history", adding that the legislation "does not protect the memory of Armenians in France" and, has a created an "absurd" stand-off with Turkey.
And Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui-en-France reports that the French are the "Kings of the blues". That’s not a reference to funky music but their reaction to the continued economic crisis. It reports on one investigation showing the French are among the most pessimistic in a survey carried out in 51 countries. It turns out Africans are a lot happier about their economic prospects than the French at the moment. The paper quotes Nigerians in Abuja saying that they are convinced 2012 will be a much better year for them. In the paper’s cartoon an African asks a Frenchman “why are you so pessimistic?” and the reply reflects a current French obsession with the economy: “Well, Nigeria doesn’t face losing its Triple A rating”.