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What the weeklies said 29 April 2018

rfi English, Apr 29

Commentators label President Macron a "Republican monarch" as he completes his first year in office; will Donald Trump buy his Iran and the Middle East offer; and Macron’s delicate manoeuvres to rally progressive allies across Europe.

President Emmanuel Macron's three-day official visit to the United States drew the most comments as the commentators analyse the results of his latest show of friendship with the unpredictable American leader Donald Trump.

Left-leaning Marianne says despite the back slapping and warm embrace exchanged by the two friends during the lavish banquet offered in honour of the French Presidential couple, there was one bone they could not chew - the Iran Nuclear Accord, signed in July 2015 by the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and Iran.

According to the magazine, Donald Trump is due to decide on May 12 whether he will walk out of the deal as he promised after taking office like he already has from the Paris Climate Agreement signed by world leaders in April 2016.

Marianne, claims that before that happens Macron will try to propose to France's European partners and to Russia his offer of an enlarged accord covering not just Iran's nuclear program but a political solution to contain Iran's involvement in the Middle East --in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

For the weekly, that's an idea, Trump hasn't completely closed the door to. But as Marianne observes, the White House continues to see Iran as the hardest bone to crack with Trump strategists unwilling to abandon their doctrine about Teheran being behind all the problems in the Middle East region.

Le Point explains that despite the hostile environment in the region fanned by the non-settlement of the 70-year Palestinian question Israel has become a real economic and military super power as well as the Silicon Valley of the Middle East.

According to the magazine, the small nation of 8.8 million inhabitants now has a GDP of over 30,000 euros per inhabitant, 1000 euros more than that of France.

Le Point puts the country's defence budget at 14.8 billion euros almost three times France’s annual military spending. The publication claims that out of hostility towards Iran Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt now support Israel terrified by the idea that Russia could supply Syria with some of its sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles.

Just days to the celebration of President Macron's first year in office, this week's News Observer l'Obs, publishes a 20-page supplement on his time in the Elysée Palace.

The magazine claims that within a year the young Macron has restored the absolute powers, which used to be held by Presidents under the fifth Republic, pushing aside intermediaries and leading his majority in parliament with a command baton.

The investigation is complete with inside accounts about the secret networks of "Macron boys" put in place by the so-called "Republican monarch, the "happy few" in his court and those he has appointed to make the public service compatible with his rule.

L'Express for its part says that despite the strict rules of loyalty and discipline enforced inside President Macron's Republicans on the Move party, some on-the-movers such as socialists and ecologists are not walking at the same pace as they try to promote their ideological sensibilities.

From the publication point of view cacophony witnessed in Parliament, during the examination of the asylum and immigration bill last week is evidence that there are “Indignants” determined to make their voices heard by the REM party.

About Macron's rule, Marianne says that while he tightens his grip around the political establishment in France, delicate manoeuvres to rally progressive allies across Europe around a common reformist platform ahead of 2019 EU elections have failed to deliver the results he expected.

One expert interviewed by the weekly warns that even if the CDU of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is ready to join the Macron alliance, the polls could deliver a hung parliament flooded by an army of euro sceptics, Europhobes and nationalists from Italy, Hungary and other Eastern European countries.


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