Manuel Valls has once again attracted headlines as he continues to cultivate his strongman image at the head of France's interior ministry, which is responsible for law and order and security. Last week a leaked letter showed that Valls was even prepared to go behind the back of his colleague, justice minister Christiane Taubira, by appealing directly to President François Hollande to modify her criminal justice reforms. But, as Louise Fessard reports, the interior minister is using some misleading data in order to promote his agenda.
There was an outcry in France when an appeal court sided with a woman who was fired by a private crèche for wearing a headscarf at work. Interior minister Manuel Valls says he now favours a new law to extend the ban on wearing religious symbols, while opponents argue that new measures simply risk stigmatising French Muslims still further. As Carine Fouteau reports, it looks as if the government has come on the side of the interior minister and is preparing new legislation.
Prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has sought to calm the major controversy surrounding plans for a new airport near his home city of Nantes by calling for “dialogue”. But at the same time the forces of law and order led a major operation against protesters at the planned airport site, leaving up to 100 people injured. Jade Lindgaard charts the latest developments in a bitter saga that is proving damaging both to the government's relations with its green allies and its reputation on environment issues.
In this second and final part of his exclusive interview with Mediapart, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault answers the suggestion that he is railroading the democratic process with the adoption of the European Treaty on Stability, Cooperation and Governance (TSCG), sets out his position on the widespread use of tax havens by big banks and corporations, and for greater representation of national parliaments in EU decision-making. He also answers questions on recent domestic issues, including his government's decision to ban demonstrations in protest at the publication by a French magazine of cartoon caricatures of Prophet Mohammed, and the calling to book of his interior minister over his out-of-step comments on racial profiling and the right to vote of of non-EU nationals.
by Stéphane Alliès, Lénaïg Bredoux and Edwy Plenel
In terms of figures, if not official rhetoric, the current government’s track record for dismantling Roma camps in France already matches that of the previous administration. According to headcounts collected by Mediapart, more than two thousand people were evicted in July and August 2012. A number of them were put on two charter flights back to Romania. Despite that, as Carine Fouteau reports, some activists insist the current situation cannot be compared to the Sarkozy era.