Today sees the last cabinet meeting in France before the summer recess. Top of the agenda is a controversial proposal to reform the country’s postal service. Libération reports that the reform would introduce a part-privatisation of the post office next year, which unions complain will damage working conditions and service. The draft legislation will be debated by parliament in September. The unions plan to mark the discussions with a nationwide day of strikes and demonstrations.
In Germany, a scandal over the use of official cars has stalled the Social Democrat party’s campaign for the Septemeber general election, writes Die Presse. Ulla Schmidt, health minister and a Social Democrat, recently had her official chauffeur-driven Mercedes stolen in Spain, where she was on holiday. Yesterday it was reported found. Several other ministers, all of whom happen to be Social Democrats, subsequently admitted that they were also using their official vehicles during vacation – but of course only for official business. Polls show the Social Democrats lagging 15 per cent behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition.