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What the papers said 7 May 2018

rfi English, May 7

Macron comes under attack for betraying his centrist agenda as he marks first year in office.

We start with reactions by the commentators in France over US President Donald Trump's senseless rhetoric concerning the 2015 attacks in Paris and widespread calls on him to show respect for the victims of the worst bloodshed on French soil since World War II.

Le Parisien reports that Trump spoke about gun laws in France during a free-wheeling address to the National Rifle Association in Texas on Friday, suggesting the atrocity might have been prevented if citizens were allowed to buy arms.

Midi Libre follows up on a strong message of disapproval sent to Trump by the French foreign ministry. It regrets that after all the back slapping and kisses and flattering words about President Emmanuel Macron’s suits, he decided to shoot France in the back.

According to Midi Libre French politicians from across the spectrum were right to ask for an apology, adding that it is the very least the French people expect from Trump on the behalf of the victims of the Bataclan shooting and their families.

Today's Le Figaro reflects on the financial ravages of the enduring industrial action taking place at the public rail transporter SNCF as Prime Minister Edouard Philippe prepares to meet with union delegations to discuss the conflict.

The paper says in the dialogue Monsieur Philippe is offering a handshake but quite a firm one to discuss the company's heavy debt burden standing at 46,6 billion euros and growing at a rate of 3 billion every year, while having no intentions whatsoever to waver on the substantives of his reform.

As to Air France, Le Figaro says the company is losing an estimated 170 million euros every week, which is why the airline's CEO offered to step down after the rejection of his mediation offer in a workers' referendum.

Notwithstanding the setback, the conservative publication notes that gone is the time when government's capitulated in front of the unions.

According to Le Figaro, historical circumstances are now in place for the government to face down the striking SNCF workers,

In respect of the Air France referendum, imposed by the company's management, l'Humanitésays the outcome was major victory for social democracy, and for advocates of the rights of workers to organize themselves and claim what is theirs through strikes.

Today, 7th of May, marks one year since President Emmanuel Macron scored an emphatic victory in the 2017 Presidential elections, smashing the dominance of France's mainstream parties.

To mark the event, Le Figaro put out a special supplement on "Macronism" which the conservative paper describes as a personalised approach to power and the theorisation of the "Jupiterian" Presidency he promised to put in place while he campaigned for the Elysée Palace.

The publication however admits that he has been forced by dwindling opinion ratings to adjust his concept of power and adapt to French political reality.

For its part, Libération says Macron who blew up the political landscape by promising a centrist approach to government business is today perceived as the right-wing President French conservatives had been dreaming to have in the Elysée.

Libé substantiates its argument by pointing to his failure to improve the purchasing power of the popular electorate which is causing widespread scepticism about his commitment to deliver promises he made to struggling families.

According to the left-leaning newspaper, if in 2017 French voters preferred giving a chance to Macron's Centrist revolution instead of the extremists he ran against, his failure to deliver the results they expected will be felt as a betrayal.

What is likely to happen Libération warns, is that in four years they could turn towards those extremists they never tried and who stand out today as President Macron's sole political adversaries.


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