What the papers said 2 August 2018


Mysterious breakdown on Paris Metro raises questions about managerial failures at the metro RATP company; and Macron’s opposition are in a sorry state.

Some of the papers refer to Wednesday’s Technical problem on one of Paris’s busiest Metro lines which paralysed the network for hours, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people through dark tunnels in stifling heat.

Le Parisien reports that network operator RATP was unable to determine the cause of the incident which began shortly after 8:00 pm, affecting eight trains plying Line 1, which serves tourist landmarks of the capital such as the Louvre and the Champs Elysees.

The paper says it took a two-hour operation involving 40 rescue workers and 150 RATP agents to help people climb down from the cars and walk out along the tracks.

For Le Journal de la Haute-Marne what’s most disturbing is the fact that the RATP proved incapable of communicating about the incident with commuters locked up in automatically operated trains under 40 degree temperatures.

The paper claims that unlike the electricity cuts that paralyzed traffic at the Montparnasse station last week, the issue here is not about a breakdown but about managerial failures that have become the new disturbing face of business at the SNCF and RATP Metro Company.

There is no one in the cockpit at Air France, screams Libération, stunned by the government’s continued hesitation in appointing a new CEO of the debt-ridden carrier.

Left leaning Libé claims that by extending the hunt for a 5-legged CEO, and allowing the AccorHotels group to become a shareholder in the company, Macron’s government and shareholders will bear responsibility for the chaos at the airline which in its words is drifting without an investment strategy.

Le Figaro also criticizes the strategy of inaction holding sway at Air France. It wonders how the carrier’s shareholders expect it to remain afloat in the highly competitive air transport sector.

For the conservative daily, if the Macron government is really the skilled strategist it claims to be, then it should be wise enough to simply take the State quickly out of the company’s capital.

That, in Le Figaro’s opinion, is the best way of attracting a CEO of great talent who will be capable of standing up to the striking pilots and put the throttle down to avoid a disaster.

The opposition

L’Eclair des Pyrénées comments about the sorry state of France’s opposition, after the defeat of the two motions of no confidence tabled against the government.

The newspaper says President Macron has nothing to fear from his political rivals composed of nothing more than outdated leftists, Jean Luc Mélenchon’s “Indignants”, far right populists who have proven their incapacity to exist near a President out of nowhere.

That’s not certain, argues La Voix du Nord. The regional publication holds that mixing the explosive cocktail of the Benalla affair and the constitutional reform had given the conservative Republicans an axe to grind against President Macron after they were unable to attack him on the economic front.

The northern “Voice” argues that had the government been so serene it would not be filibustering about the opposition’s demands to probe more Elysée officials in their investigations of the Benalla affair which they see as a cover up scandal and an attempt to shield the President.