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What the papers said 4 June 2018

rfi English, Jun 4

President Macron moves into full gear as the opposition's attempt to wreck his reform agenda runs out of steam.

The narrow escape from capital punishment by French jihadist mother Melina Boughedir draws reactions from some of the papers. This after the mother of four was sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Iraqi court for belonging to the Islamic State group, a charge she denies.

Boughedir told the Iraqi court that she was drawn into the Caliphate by her jihadi husband. But as Le Parisien reports, her case is the subject of a controversy raging in France where her lawyers accused authorities in Paris of "interference" to prevent her returning to France.

According to the newspaper, Boughedir's case may have been influenced by Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian's remarks on French television that she was a terrorist who fought Iraq.

Sud-Ouest describes the verdict as the legitimate consequence of the decision Melina Boughedir made adding that the general feeling the French people would have about her choices would be more severe.

According to le Courrier Picard, the fate of French citizens who flocked to Iraq and Syria to join the self-declared Islamic State "caliphate" has not stopped fanning a passionate debate.

From the paper's point of view, the life sentence handed down to the mother of four in Baghdad is just one of the example. For the regional publication, France and her government will have to re-open the files of such detainees.

This, simply because the Iraqis and the Kurds are unlikely to remain as "prison wardens" for western democracies. As le Courrier Picard puts it, they don't have the means of investigating the role played by every suspected Jihadist.

Furthermore it argues that even if the said French jihadists spat on the country and spilled French blood, it is France's responsibility to deal with them directly, instead of Paris outsourcing its judiciary responsibilities.

With less than a year away from the 2019 European elections, Le Figaro warns President Emmanuel Macron to expect his most painful headache yet, the conservative daily pointing to considering assesses the political stakes facing the President in the light of the European political context complicating the ambitions of the presidential majority.

Macron seems to be falling in a booby trap he himself set, argues Le Figaro. As the paper puts it, he didn't just presented himself as the herald of pro-European progressives, at a time of populism is gaining ground in the sub continent.

For the newspaper, Macron's giant projects such as a Eurozone cabinet and parliament and budget, EU levies on the so-called “Gafa” giants of the Internet, and a common EU intervention force by 2020, all proposed at this moment of Brexit do not generate the enthusiasm expected.

As le Figaro observes, Monsieur Macron should be extremely worried at the cold reception his plans have received from France's European partners, including the German Chancellor Angela Merkel who will not buy the President's offer.

According to Le Figaro, the difficulties Macron faces in completing the political recomposition of France lie right in the heart of the civil uprising sweeping through Europe, the cold anger far from being the cause of their misfortune but the symptoms of their defiance of Europe.

In the newspaper's opinion, the single response to the European malaise fanned by migratory crisis, commercial wars, cultural insecurity, the economic slump, lies in the art of politics.

With regard to the worrying issue of Europe's economic status, La Croix launches a scathing attack on US President Donald Trump who it accuses of bringing down one facet of the transatlantic relationship. This as his administration started enforcing 25 percent tariffs on European steel imports and 10 percent of on aluminium from Europe.

The Catholic daily points out that while it was wise for the Europeans to exercise caution it is in the long term interest of the Europeans to vigorously defend an international system based on negotiations and not to allow themselves to be dwarfed by Trump's unilateral designs.

SNCF strike runs out of steam, students protests running out of breath, disappointing demos, are there any tactics to adopt in order to revive street action against bulldozer Macron? These are questions Libération poses in its front page, as mobilisation by President Macron's opponents slows down.

The left-leaning weekly claims that after his reform of the labour code, the government is about to speed up is revamp of French society with the launch of its second major battle against the opposition - the reform of the state-owned SNCF railway transporter with the vote in parliament scheduled in June.

According to Libé, with public opinion now clearly on the government's side, Macron's administration is about to launch two more fronts, reform of the pension scheme and the social welfare program.

In Libération's point of view the score now is "Macron 2, Mélenchon 0. The publication claims that with a certain degree of honesty, the leader of Indignant France, who conceded a first defeat after the failed mobilisation against the so-called Pénicaud labour laws is about to face humiliation come summer.

This is after his failure to mobilise a "human tide” of unions, political parties and associations against President Macron's agenda to revamp the country. According to Libé, to say the least, Jean-Luc Mélenchon's record as leader of the opposition and the trade union movement is deeply disappointing.

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