Jeremy Corbyn divides French Left

By Lénaïg Bredoux

The election this month of veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party has been greeted variously with both delight and despair among the French Left. While Socialist Party bigwigs look on aghast at the election of what a minister described to Mediapart as “an archaic dinosaur”, one of its minority leftist rebel MPs called the event “a breath of fresh air”. Lénaïg Bredoux has been seeking out the reactions.

French parliament debate on refugee crisis darkened by shadow of the far-right

By Lénaïg Bredoux
 © LCP © LCP

The French parliament on Wednesday held a debate on “the accommodation of refugees in France and Europe”, centred on the government’s pledge to receive an extra 24,000 refugees over the coming two years, on top of the existing numbers of asylum seekers. But, writes Mediapart political correspondent Lénaïg Bredoux, it was a missed opportunity for political courage, in which Prime Minister Manuel Valls tempered France’s announced welcome of refugees with the need to tighten border security, overshadowed by fears that the crisis is further fuelling support for the far-right Front National party.  

The disturbing case of French journalists’ ‘blackmail’ of Moroccan king

By Michel Deléan
 © DR. © DR.

In a case as bizarre as it is unusual, two French journalists were last month arrested in a luxurious Paris hotel on suspicion of the attempted blackmail of Morocco's King Mohammed VI. Éric Laurent and Catherine Graciet are accused by the Moroccan authorities of demanding 3 million euros in exchange for not publishing their book of damaging revelations about the Rabat regime. Mediapart has obtained access to documents from the French judicial investigation which demonstrate that the case is far more complex than it first appeared. Sting or set-up? Michel Deléan reports.

The myth of France as 'the land of asylum'

By Carine Fouteau

While massive numbers of refugees continue to arrive in Europe, there is a perception among many in France that the country is something of a ‘promised land’ for asylum seekers, a dream destination about to be overwhelmed by the influx. But in reality, the self-proclaimed “land of human rights” figures way down the wish-list of those currently seeking to settle in Europe, even among francophone refugees. In this analysis of the crisis, which on Sunday saw Germany closing its southern borders, Mediapart's specialist writer on migratory issues, Carine Fouteau, examines why the majority of refugees are now spurning France.

How arms dealer who bought guns used in Paris terror attacks was never questioned

By Karl Laske
Vidéo posthume d'Amedy Coulibaly revendiquant son attaque. © DR Vidéo posthume d'Amedy Coulibaly revendiquant son attaque. © DR

During the Paris terrorist attacks in January, four customers taken hostage in a kosher supermarket were shot dead, and four others seriously wounded, by a man claiming to have targeted the Jewish store in the name of Islamic State. The gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, was subsequently killed by police when they stormed the store. Mediapart can reveal that the automatic weapons found by his body were identified by Slovak police as having been bought late last year by a Lille-based dealer in decommissioned military arms, but who has astonishingly never been questioned about his eventual contact with Coulibaly. Karl Laske reports.

Tensions mount as French mayors prepare reception of refugees

By Feriel Alouti

In face of the massive arrivals of refugees in Europe, and notably the huge recent influx into Germany, France has agreed to accept an extra 24,000 asylum seekers over the next two years. The initial organisation of accommodating the refugees is to be mapped out at a meeting this weekend between the interior minister and French mayors who have volunteered to provide assistance. But, as Feriel Alouti and Michaël Hajdenberg report, the crisis highlights the already thoroughly inadequate previsions for asylum seekers, while tensions, fuelled by some mayors opposed to the scheme, are already brewing among some local populations.

France's 'alternative' farmers point to a new rural model

By julien sartre
Pierre-Yves Floch, dans sa porcherie bio © JS Pierre-Yves Floch, dans sa porcherie bio © JS

French farmers last week blocked Paris with more than 1,500 tractors in the latest of a series of protests at the dire financial difficulties many now find themselves in, which they blame on ever-lower prices paid for their produce, taxes and social charges, and industry standards that are strangling them in red tape. But a growing number of smallholdings in France are successfully bucking the trend, proving that there is an economically viable alternative to the failed model of conventional farming and mass production sold on the cheap - in the form of quality produce sold directly to local outlets. Julien Sartre reports from Brittany.

Exclusive: the ‘regrets’ of French agent who sank the Rainbow Warrior

By Edwy Plenel

The French naval frogman who sank the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand in July 1985, causing the death of photographer Fernando Pereira, has spoken publicly for the first time. Jean-Luc Kister, who was ordered to sink the boat that took part in protests against France's nuclear tests in the Pacific, has given a long interview to Mediapart's editor-in-chief, Edwy Plenel, the journalist who broke the story of French involvement in the attack 30 years ago. This interview is published simultaneously with a public apology given by Kister on New Zealand state television.

How oil firm represents France on UN fuel pollution body

By Jade Lindgaard

A committee of the UN's International Maritime Organization is discussing ways to reduce the sulphur content in marine fuels, a pollutant said to be responsible for up to 50,000 deaths a year in Europe alone. But France's representative on the body is an employee of French oil firm Total - which produces those very same marine fuels. As Jade Lindgaard reports, there is embarrassment in Paris over this apparently flagrant conflict of interest.

Civics lessons on curriculum as France goes back to school

The long summer holidays are over and on Tuesday this week French pupils went back to school. There are none of the major reforms and controversies that have greeted previous new academic years under President François Hollande. But there are still some changes for schoolchildren and teachers alike, notably new compulsory moral and civics lessons prompted by the terror attacks in Paris in January. Feriel Alouti and Lucie Delaporte report.

How the Socialist Party is now France's 'Democratic Party'

By stéphane alliès

The ruling Socialist Party is continuing its inexorable drift towards the centre ground of French politics. As Stéphane Alliès reports, prime minister Manuel Valls's key-note speech on Sunday to end its summer conference underlined the extent to which the party has turned its back on other parties of the Left and has instead become a “rallying call for progressives”.

The French Right's lost year

By Ellen Salvi
Nicolas Sarkozy, Alain Juppé et François Fillon le 11 février © Reuters Nicolas Sarkozy, Alain Juppé et François Fillon le 11 février © Reuters

The return of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy to front-line politics in 2014 was supposed to breathe new life into the Right, bringing unity and cohesion ahead of the 2017 presidential election. Instead, a year later, the ex-president's political movement looks fractured, fractious and short on new ideas as political life resumes after the summer break. Ellen Salvi reports.

The reality of France's '30 glorious' post-war boom years

Dans les années 1960 © Archives Ina Dans les années 1960 © Archives Ina

A three-decade period that began with the reconstruction of post-war France in 1945, which saw steady economic growth, full employment, the development of a consumer society and a baby-boom is widely known in the country as “les Trente Glorieuses”. Recurrent economic crises since have made many nostalgic of a long-gone, supposedly blissful “thirty glorious” years. But a number of historians argue that for most of the population there never was this golden age that has become a national legend. Nicolas Chevassus-au-Louis reports on the myth and reality of the Trente Glorieuses.

Historic appeal against climate crime ahead of Paris conference

By Jade Lindgaard

The climate conference scheduled for Paris in December is the latest in a long line of bureaucratic gatherings that have so far failed to deliver on promises of fighting climate change. Now 100 prominent world figures have signed a mould-breaking appeal which seeks to bypass the endless discussions and instead calls for a social “uprising” against climate crime just as past campaigners sought to end slavery and apartheid. Jade Lindgaard explains why Mediapart is associating itself with this dramatic appeal.

Did French train terror suspect slip through European security net?

By Michel Deléan and Louise Fessard

The man arrested after a thwarted attack on a train last Friday was known to intelligence agencies in several countries, including France. Yet Ayoub El-Khazzani, 25, was still able to board a busy Paris-bound train after acquiring an assault rifle and ammunition. Michel Deléan and Louise Fessard ask if European secret services again let a potential terrorist through the net – or whether surveillance on so many potential suspects is simply impossible.