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What the weeklies said 24 June 2018

rfi English, Jun 24

President Macron baffling remarks about crazy spending on social security return to haunt him; 90 km to 80 km / hour on roads continues to fuel passionate debate; Trump exposes the Eurozone; and the Paris Vélib bike service contract goes South.

President Emmanuel Macron’s gaffe about the crazy amount of money spent on social welfare has landed back on him like a boomerang. That’s what left-leaning Marianne sets out to show in its cover story. The magazine says the Presidential discourse on poverty is an ideological dressing of a policy aimed at seducing his right-wing electorate.

As Marianne explains, social security works well, costing just one percent of the GDP and the people support it, adding that there are areas where a crazy amount of public funds are being squandered which Macron isn’t shocked about. It names some of them: the annual wages of Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn standing at one million euros a year, after a government suggested 13 percent slashing of his pay package.

Marianne also mocks the President for allegedly spending close to half a million euros on new crockery for the Elysée Palace, which serves to confirm his royal lifestyle.

The left-leaning weekly summarises its feelings about Macron’s free-spending with a Lessere cartoon, of the President sitting in his living room shortly after using the Presidential Falcon for a trip just 110 km away.

The controversy over the government decree cutting the speed limit on secondary roads from 90 km per hour to 80 continues to fuel passionate debates. The New Observer l’Obs, says Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has vowed to see it through starting on July 1. The left leaning publication claims that supporters and opponents of the measure clash even inside the cabinet, reiterating that if saving lives will make him unpopular, then he doesn’t mind.

As US President Donald Trump remains determined to tear the world order written in 1945 into shreds, Le Point wonders if Europe will take advantage of the opportunity to reassert itself as a world player.

Pascal Lamy a former Director General of the World Trade Organization tells Le Point that by erecting commercial barriers and piling up his country’s debt burden, Trump is exposing the US economy to unmeasured risks, including that of the Eurozone.

Strove Talbott who served in President Clinton’s office says that in Donald Trump’s mind, the EU is nothing more than a weak institution which profits the United States, an example being the question of military spending.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the big splash in this week’s New Observer l’Obs as voters go to the polls in an early election he called to extend his strangle hold on the country.

The magazine says the opportunist despot has become a threat to Europe two years after the abortive coup against his long rule – first as Prime Minister for over a decade and President since 2014.

According to l’Obs, the nationalist, Islamist, authoritarian and dangerous strategist has thrown all his opponents into prison after surviving all the crisis played out in Europe.

Turkish author Ahmet Atlan; wrote to l’Obs from prison expressing confidence that the survival instinct of Turkish society will vote to end the repression going on under Erdogan’s rule.

After the breakdown of the Vélib public bicycle and electric car sharing systems Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is about to introduce a new so-called free foot service to get Parisians used to going about their businesses on foot.

It is with such sarcasm that Le Canard Enchaîné pokes fun at the city council’s decision to denounce the contracts it signed with the JC Decaux and Bollore Groups to get the systems operational.

According to the satirical weekly, ten years after launching the self-operated systems, the Mayor suddenly realized that the Velib and Autolib were too expensive to run – the deficit piled up having ran into the tune of 300 million euros.

So she decided to terminate the operator’s licenses worth 223 million euros which were due for extension by 2023 sooner than later. Le Canard says her chances of finding partners willing to make cheaper offers are close to zero.

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