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What the papers said 18th July 2018

rfi English, Jul 18

World Cup fever is slowly dying down in the press but it still takes up a lot of space, while doping on the Tour de France and problems in the new university admission system also get some column centimetres.

Le Parisien is even wondering how the passion aroused by World Cup 2018 can be maintained as Les Bleus’ victory has boosted moral and they believe this can positively affect a number of areas in French society.

According to the paper, citizens should be inspired by the squad's sense of unity, and by teenage star Kylian Mbappé, who is deemed to be a symbol of hard work and perseverance, and coach Didier Deschamps, who is viewed as a role model for bosses and entrepreneurs.

World Cup aftermath

Le Monde, meanwhile, features an optimistic article on how sport is a now a springboard towards employment, especially if you stem from a working class environment. A cynic might sense an element of snobbery, especially when one knows the low esteem in which physical education is held in French schools. But perhaps that is about to change.

Le Figaro has come back on the idea that France’s victory benefited Emmanuel Macron’s image. This after a new survey commissioned highlighted that, although the World Cup has indeed bolstered national pride, hope for the future and France’s image on an international level, the president's popularity is still measured on a cold, calculated basis such as social and economic results under his leadership.

Macron renews dialogue with bosses and unions

Talking of which, on Tuesday Macron hosted a three-hour meeting with trade unions and bosses.

Economic daily Les Echos notes that all parties left the meeting satisfied.

Unions and bosses feel they are now included in the battlefield - sorry, I mean "the building site" - that will be the restructuring of France's social institutions, set to begin in 2019.

Le Parisien also picks up on the softer tone adopted by Macron who has been accused in the last year, of trying to rush through reforms.

French university admission fiasco

Both communist L’Humanité and centrist Le Monde are concerned about the fate of France’s young people hoping to go to university.

Some 100,000 of them have no idea what will happen in terms of their further education thanks to a new system put in place with the intention of providing fairer course allocation and simplifying the application process.

It has, in fact, slowed down everything, even when it comes to France’s most prestigious educational institutions. Last year 87,000 high-school graduates were not able to enrol in a course. If anything, the new system, Parcoursup, has made things worse. Unions and campaign groups want to take up the matter. Being told to wait until the end of August just isn’t good enough, they say.

Is the Tour De France still as doped-up?

The Tour De France also features in the newspapers, with Le Monde paying particular attention to this year's performance-enhancing drug-taking trends.

A mole in one of cycling teams contacted authorities to shed light on new practices, and the centrist daily has got its hands on the report. It reminds its readers that 20 years ago doping was at its height, with the energy-boosting substance EPO, growth hormones and testosterone jabs sharing the ice cooler with the teams' sodas.

Nowadays riders are more into micro-dosing. Although most of the press is generally looking for a new drug of choice, the report indicates that the chief suspects are still the same substances, and how they are assimilated into the body is what matters. Le Monde also believes the riders are more than ever obsessed with weight loss and perhaps spend more time on the scales instead of taking drugs, some arguing that the weight obsession is just as bad for the health of the rider and the sport itself.


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