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What the papers said 18th September 2018

rfi English, Sep 18

President Macron unveils new offers in education and healthcare despite continuing slide in the polls.

The shedding of teaching jobs at schools emerges as the hottest topic in the newspapers after education Minister Jena-Michel Blanquer unveiled a plan not to replace up to 4,000 permanent staff members going into retirement this year.

L'Opinion says the numbers are much higher - to the tune of 12,000 overall representing 0.16 percent of next year's school staff, adding that parents are already traumatised by what their children would undergo due to the continued impoverishment of the teaching profession, overcrowded classrooms, rising indiscipline in schools at a time of spiralling unemployment.

Libération looked forward to President Macron's unveiling of his much awaited reorganization of the health sector especially urban health poorly coordinated with hospitals and unevenly deployed across the countryside.

The left-leaning newspaper which has seen the advanced copy of the plan says he plans to release 400 million euros in supplementary resources to finance 50 measures to be implemented starting from 2019.

Libé says President Macron expects the measures to have the same far-reaching impact on the health chain like the creation of University hospitals did on their inception in 1958.

As Libération explains, there is a phrase that stands out in the reform like a slogan namely that "it's time to get rid of isolated medical practice and get up the 50 percent of medics who still work alone to practise their profession in direct relationship with the hospital.

President Macron's eight billion euro job creation plan is also the subject of mixed reactions from several paper.

Le Monde says the four-year package is far short of stake holders' expectations as they expected a big bang capable of bridging the generational gap between the ageing career jobs and mobility driven job market.

According to Le Monde even if Macron hasn't concealed the hard work that needs to be done to do away with the welfare state, it will also take great mobilisation and a sustained effort to implement the universal welfare payment provided in his new labour laws.

Le Républicain Lorrain criticizes President Macron for being out of touch with ordinary people, after Saturday's remarks to a young unemployed visiting the Elysée Palace on Heritage Day that he could find a job just across the street as a waiter in the blink of an eye.

Liberation daily jumped on the occasion to quickly draw a comparison with the supposed suggestion by France's last queen, Marie-Antoinette, that if the poor had no bread they should eat cake instead.

Le Courrier picard says that while Macron's aides were quick to salute his frank talk, his insensitive response sounded more as an admission of having failed revalourising apprenticeship and manual work.

Coming from the head of State, it warns, such reckless remarks could easily be interpreted as contempt, like when he invited workers at the bankrupt GM&S car parts maker, to go find jobs 200 kms from their homes.

La Presse de la Manche faults the President for making a "faux pas" which augurs nothing good, either for his image or for France. He doesn't need to play with fire, the paper says, at a time his ratings have slumped, weighed down by a scandal over a former bodyguard and with economic growth set to come in at a lower-than-expected 1.6 percent this year.

A Kantar Sofres Onepoint poll released Monday found only 19 percent had a positive view of the president.

On the eve of the Koreas' summit in Pyongyang, Le Figaro expects South Korea's Moon Jaein, to try to persuade his northern counterpart Kim Jung-un to share a complete inventory of his nuclear arsenal with him in order to show proof of his goodwill to pave the way for a second summit with Donald Trump.

The conservative publication says it remains hopeful that the two leaders will make progress towards a peace declaration with the blessing of China and probably Russia.

But as the newspaper observes, placed under pressure by the US mid-term elections, Trump could be tempted to support their effort, thereby back-tracking on his stance. As Le Figaro observes, settling for peace without any progress on de-nuclearisation will be tantamount to agreeing to it in exchange of a bad deal.


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