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French press review 14 July 2012

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Today, 14 July, is Bastille Day in France, but surprisingly the national dailies are not looking forward to the hectic day marked by the traditional military parade at the Champs Elysées, or the dances and fireworks around the country. Instead, they focused on President François Hollande’s reinstatement of the 14th of July interview scrapped by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, and the weather.


“Hollande faces reality check” headlines Le Figaro. According to the conservative newspaper, the context under which the Head of State will be speaking to the French people has been “aggravated by a crisis that has jeopardized his campaign promises.”

Sud-Ouest expects the presidential interview to be Francois Hollande’s “first major moment of communion with the French people.”

Parliamentary elections 2012

The regional paper says people are waiting to hear him address particularly the “role of his companion,” Valérie Trierweiler, and the controversial message of support she tweeted to Olivier Falorni, who went to defeat Ségolène Royale. Royale is the mother of Hollande’s children and was the candidate endorsed by the Socialist party in the parliamentary elections.

Le Midi Libre
is also looking forward to the interview to hear what Hollande will say about the so-called “Trierweiler affair,” the crisis at the French automaker PSA Peugeot-Citroen and what he will do to revamp the economy reeling under spiralling unemployment, rising labour costs and painful fiscal policies.

Le Courrier Picard
has some advice for Hollande, which it says he will need as he marks his first Bastille Day. It is an adage rendered famous by a Macedonian king, but often attributed to the French writer Voltaire: “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.”

The paper has in mind the president’s “domestic problems” as well - the family disputes and caprices involving his current partner Trierweiler, and Royale, the mother of his children, all of which have marred his “Mister Normal” presidency.

Le Courrier Picard is expecting a very wet Bastille Day today and notes that François Hollande has been systematically “drenched by rains” on every official occasion since taking office. That certainly explains, according to the paper, why he has been nicknamed “Rain Man” in the United States.

L’Alsace says the "downpour” continues two months after Hollande’s “coronation” but it claims that “the joy he felt” walking under heavy rains is long gone, as dark clouds have littered the skies in every direction.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

In Europe, there is breaking news that the Netherlands and Finland are refusing to sign the just-brokered accords on the European stability pact. And on the home front, there are massive layoffs at major businesses and industrial sites, with a budget shortfall of 7.2 billion euros to be raised this summer and 30 billion euros more by 2013.

Hollande won’t even have peace at home, according to the newspaper, after the “hammer blow” delivered to his head by The First Girlfriend’s “anti-Ségolène Royal tweet.” The “grace period” is over, says L’Alsace, as “everything has become desperately normal except the weather this summer.”