At the start of a visit to Senegal, Manuel Valls dismissed comments by former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, campaigning in a bid to retake power, who said the ancestors of all French nationals are the Gauls, saying 'our country’s strength is its diversity'.
In February prime minister Manuel Valls promised that work would begin on a controversial new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes near Nantes in western France by the autumn. Yet despite a much-criticised local referendum that backed the plan, there are no immediate signs that construction work is about to begin, or even that the protesters who currently occupy the site face imminent eviction. The latest hold-up has been caused by demands from Brussels for information on the wider environmental impact of the project, which could see the start of work delayed until next year. Aurélie Delmas reports.
News of the British vote to leave the European Union has caused considerable shock in France, one of the founding fathers of the European project. President François Hollande has called for immediate action to revitalise the EU and after meetings with ministers on Friday will meet with Italian premier Matteo Renzi in Paris this weekend and with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday. On Tuesday the French Parliament will also debate the likely impact of Brexit on France and Europe in general. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.
The French government’s labour law reform bill, now being debated in the Senate, has prompted fierce opposition from several trades unions, massive demonstrations across the country, and a deep political and social crisis. Opinion polls show a majority of the population are opposed to the bill, which reduces current protection for employees with measures that include easing conditions for firing staff and placing a ceiling on compensation sums awarded by industrial tribunals. But the government is adamant it will not negotiate the bill's contents. Martine Orange investigates the reasons for its unusual intransigence, and discovers evidence that the most controversial texts of the bill were demanded by European Union economic liberals.