FranceTax, labor and fires dominated the news on Thursday. Le Monde led with a report indicating the government plans to deregulate fixed-term contracts as part of its labor reforms package. It also reported on the forest fires engulfing the country’s southeast, which have forced 12,000 people out of their homes. Right-leaning Le Figaro tut-tutted about France’s tax policy on its front page. The paper, which supports free markets, published a report that calculated the portion of the year workers dedicate to paying tax. Accordingly, French citizens would stop paying taxes to the government and start keeping cash for themselves July 29, the most tardy across the EU (Belgium comes a close second as its “tax liberation day” is July 27). An editorial titled, “A sadly French record,” lamented this fact.Libération led with a story on France’s lobby problems. It argued an upcoming law meant to tackle graft in politics should also tackle “the shadow of lobbies.” The paper indirectly linked the issue of lobbying with the fires engulfing the country, running a picture of a tennis court in the foreground with heavy smoke in the background. SpainMuch of the Spanish press was abuzz with news of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s appearance in front of a tribunal — the first ever for a sitting prime minister. The corruption investigation, known as the Gürtel case, is looking into alleged kickbacks for public contracts involving local administrations under the control of Rajoy’s Popular Party and the illegal financing of the same party. “Rajoy escapes without [giving] answers,” El País said. El Mundo led with “Rajoy resists first assault.”In other news, the Catalan parliament passed a bill that would allow the region to implement an “express” secession process, according to La Vanguardia. This means the bill that would allow the regional government to hold the referendum scheduled on October 1 — a referendum the Madrid government still deems illegal — will be voted on without debate or possible amendments from the opposition. GermanyThe Frankfurter Allgemeine and the Süddeutsche Zeiting led their front pages with news of a European Court of Justice ruling released Wednesday that green-lit Austria and Slovenia’s decision to deport hundred of migrants to Croatia — their country of arrival in the EU. The papers pondered how the ruling may affect Germany, the EU’s largest recipient of migrants. While the ruling focused on Croatia’s responsibility as the first country of arrival in accordance with the Dublin Regulations, the court also said other EU countries can voluntarily examine asylum applications even if they are not the first country of arrival, “confirming [the German government’s] refugee policy,” according to FA. “Merkel’s border opening was permitted,” SZ wrote.Right-leaning Die Welt rubbished the idea the ruling was a vindication of Merkel’s “open-door” refugee policy. In an editorial, the paper wrote, “To interpret this as confirmation of Angela Merkel’s refugee policy, as some already try to do, is somewhat daring. The judgment is more an indication that the legal situation is contradictory, and is difficult to reconcile with reality.” UKMost British papers featured pictures of the French Riviera on their front pages, perhaps because “tourists — many of them British — sleep on French Riviera beaches after being forced to flee [France’s] forest fires,” as the Daily Mail put it. The Guardian led with a story on “big city leaders” unhappy with the new clean air plan. The Financial Times led with Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s promise that EU workers will still have access to the British labor marker after Brexit. The Times investigated sex abuse at care homes.