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Economy Press review Emmanuel Macron

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French press review 9 August 2017


President Macron in crunch "mine-sweeping" cabinet meeting before a stormy autumn. And a massive petition against a "First Lady's status for Mrs Macron spells more political woes for the young French leader.

"Elysée Palace in mind-sweeping operation", "sweeping for mines before the back from holiday season". These are some of the front-page captions of todays newspapers.

The commentators predict a tough, bleak season for President Macron, as he prepares for looming social unrest and battles with the trade unions over his reform agenda.

As President Macron presides over his government's last cabinet meeting this Wednesday before the summer vacation, Le Figaro says his Ministers will be ”On the Move” during their short time off, with the President's flagship reform of the labour code, very much on their minds.

The paper says they will have to find a way to get the job done, without putting the unions on a war footing.

According to the right-wing publication, the unions are already enraged by Macron’s drastic cuts in public spending, his offer of tax-breaks for the wealthy and mandatory reductions in unemployment insurance.

Le Figaro holds that it will take more than courage and nerve, for President to see the reforms through, so as to have something to show the nation as he marks his first one hundred days in office.

Le Parisien says the young new President woes are compounded by the campaign promise he made to consult the French people on the issue of First Lady's Status in order to bring greater transparency to the Elysée Palace.

The paper holds that with the law barring lawmakers from employing family members, the Macron Administration probably inflamed the petition signed by more than 285,000 citizens, opposing an official role for Madame Brigitte Macron.

La Croix warns that it would be a major mistake to try to codify a role for the First Lady.

The Catholic daily argues that creating an official status for the Head of State's companion would be tantamount to establishing the principle of her "existence in a Republic where it is not the couple which is elected but a man or a woman".

According to La Croix, if Madame Macron ends up being granted a status, then the government should create one too, for the spouses, of people tasked with representing the Republic whatever their positions, not forgetting the never-mentioned question of "First Husbands".

Sud-Ouest points to what it claims has infuriated the summer petitioners the most.

According to the paper, it is the idea that tax payers money is being spent on the President's wife. This, so she can have a team around her to handle her stockpile of letters and emails.

In the view of the regional publication, Macron's apparent capitulation on such a trivial issue demonstrates just how difficult it can be in France to change old habits and confront taboos.

And a time when President Macron is asking the French people to tighten their belts, Le Parisien underlines what appears to be another contradiction in President Macron’s policies.

It is the whopping 300,000 euros squandered on his summoning of lawmakers to Versailles for his general policy address.

Le Parisien reports that the cost of operation was made public by the National Assembly on Tuesday noting that the budget drawn from the resources of the two houses does not include so-called unusual expenses such as the hiring of buses and cabs for the 577 MPs and 348 senators during the occasion.