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Press review France

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French press review 19 May 2017

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The French papers this morning continue their scrutiny of the government of newly elected President Emmanuel Macron.


Right-wing le Figaro tells us that Macron has imposed strict rules on his Ministers.

At the first Cabinet meeting, held yesterday at the Elysée Palace, Macron spelled out some basic rules : such as "the necessary solidarity between all members of the government", "respect for confidentiality" and "consistency."

Long term policy, the big picture as it were, will be crafted by Macron in the Elysée.

Short term, day to day stuff will be managed by the Matignon, that's the office of the Prime Minister.

"A minister does not impose conditions, he must apply the President's road map," said a Presidential spokesman.

For the record, Macron's newly minted party, the Republic on the Move, does not have a single seat in the National Assembly. If the new government is to function smoothly it needs a majority or at very least an amiable coalition.

Anticipating next month's Parliamentary elections, the paper runs the results of a survey of voting intentions released yesterday.

A Harris Interactive survey for France Télévisions shows REM leading with 32%.

The centre right Republicans and their allies have 19%, neck and neck with the far-right National Front.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon's hard-left France Unbowed has 15%, and the Socialist Party continue its collapse into the dustbin of history with 6%.

A separate poll by Les Echos and Radio classique suggest that the French are not ready to give their blind trust the new President.

Macron enjoys a 45% confidence rating. But, 46% of the French do not trust him.

His three predecessor, François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac, all scored much higher at the same stage of their mandates.

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Predictably, perhaps, among the unconvinced are left-leaning papers.

The communist daily, l'Humanité, accuses Macron of planning to "choke" Parliament.

The paper says that for Macron Parliament is a problem not a solution.

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Libération, meanwhile, reports that there were fallings out at the very first Cabinet meeting.

"Stick by principles or fight against colleagues," the paper asks?

"The many disagreements between certain ministers of the Philippe government, meeting for the first time on Thursday, could lead to head-on conflicts," it says.
I'm still hunting for details which support this assertion.

If I find them I'll let you know.

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The popular daily le Parisien focuses on the modus operandi of the new government saying "Confidentiality, discipline, solidarity" are the new rules.

Evidently, the outgoing President François Hollande, whose portrait still stands in some of the halls of the palace, was far too talkative to Macron's liking.

Maybe we are shifting from the world of unruly politicians into a more discreet, goal-oriented world of merchant banking. About which the new President knows a thing or two.

"The President of the Republic sets a goal, sets the course. And the government, under the total authority of the Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, has the task of implementing it," said the President's spokesman. Adding "And, I insist on the word 'total!'."

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Centrist le Monde notes that Macron has limited by decree the number of collaborators employed by his ministers

Ten councillors for a minister, eight for a minister delegate and five for a secretary of state. Which amounts to a drastic reduction from what's come before.

On the campaign trail, Macron promised to reduce public spending by €60 billion and to cut 120,000 public sector jobs.

So, there's a few dozen gone already.