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What the weeklies said 15 July 2018

rfi English, Jul 15

Aside from football headlines galore, we come to Macron’s address to congress in the opulent Versailles, and his African “season” in Paris in 2020.

In the week when President Emmanuel Macron summoned both houses of parliament to the opulent Versailles glass palace, for his second address to Congress, the commentators are divided on ideological lines about his record.

Right-wing Le Point says that President Macron proved to lawmakers that he didn't spend the past year sleeping.

The magazine says he laid out the early legislative successes of his first year in office, namely corporate tax cuts, the easing of labour laws, reforms to university entrance procedures and a revamp of the SNCF state rail operator.

According to the weekly, while Monsieur Macron has broken the long established dogma that equality can only be achieved through redistribution, his policies haven't gone far enough in introducing the new social mobility necessary for job creation, to add fluidity to the markets and open new horizons for economic growth.

Left leaning l'Obs says Macron's attempt to present himself as being a “humble” servant, contrasts with the monarchical and arrogant style of leadership he has shown since coming to office.

The New Observer points to his plan to reduce the size of parliament, by one third, while concentrating powers in the Presidential palace.

According to the publication, the so-called "Sun” President’s admiration of “vertical” power was not just evident in the royal ceremonies he organises in Versailles, but also at the transfer early this month of the remains of women's rights' icon Simone Veil, to the Pantheon where he was at the centre of every image.

L'Obs recalls a recent speech Monsieur Macron made in which he used the very royal expression “my people” when referring to the French population.

Le Point comes back on President Macron's visit to Africa this week, at a time it claims the continent is torn between the economic dynamism of nations like Nigeria and Rwanda and the security threat posed by Islamists in the Sahel.

The magazine argues that if Macron attended the AU Summit in Mauritania and then flew to Abuja and Lagos, it was in due recognition of the Continent’s role in shaping the destiny of the 21st century – demography, economic development, climate change or threats to global security.

From statistics published by the weekly, Africa's population is expected to grow from 1.3 billion today to 4.5 billion in 2100, its economy forecast at doubles digits over the same period.

Le Point argues that at these times when Africa is speeding up economic and cultural ties with China, India and Brazil, Europe are in no mood to be left out of the world's biggest market. President Macron is planning to hold an African “season” in Paris in 2020 according to the magazine.

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