The MEPs shaping the Common Agricultural Policy and receiving its handouts

International — Investigation

Among the Members of the European Parliament are a group of farmers and others with agricultural interests who benefit directly from the subsidies provided for in the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The fact that many of them are at the forefront of negotiations to map out the reform of the CAP, to be put to a vote during this week, raises a clear question of conflicts of interest. Amélie Poinssot reports.

French PM details reform of unemployment benefits system

France — Link

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe on Tuesday anounced his government's raft of measures to overhaul the unemployment benefits system, which he claimed would lower the jobless rate and save 3.4 billion euros over three years, and which will include extending the period people have to work before being eligible for aid, a cut in indemnities for high-income earners, ensuring benefits are lower than job pay, and the  penalizing of companies which repeatedly use short-term contracts.

Macron launches reform of 'moth-eaten' welfare system

France — Analysis

French President Emmanuel Macron this week presented a broad outline of a future reform of the country’s welfare system, in a speech to a congress of health insurance companies. Beyond an announcement of measures to facilitate access to certain types of healthcare and boost the prevention of illness, Macron said the current welfare system, which he described as “moth-eaten”, was a failed model, but insisted the solutions to its problems “cannot be budgetary”. Attacking poverty, he said, can only succeed by making people “responsible” for their lives. Manuel Jardinaud analyses the president’s speech and concludes that behind the catchphrases and carefully avoided issues emerges Macron’s strategy for the dismantling of France’s cherished social protection system.

France to reduce bureaucratic penalties on mistakes by firms and public

France — Link

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Monday announced a raft of measures aimed at ending "bureaucratic inflation", including the 'right of error' on tax returns and similar charges by businesses and individuals and a reduction in administrative paperwork.

France mulls reform of child sex laws after controversial court rulings

France — Link

Following recent acquittals in separate cases of men charged with raping 11-year-old girls, rulings justified by magistrates on the grounds that there was no evidence of violence or constraint, France's gender parity minister Marlène Schiappa said her government is to consider changes in the law that would automatically qualify sexual intercourse between an adult and a minor 'under a certain age' as rape.

Macron urges EU to be ‘bold’ as he outlines ideas for overhaul

France — Link

He proposes a 'common defence force,' two agencies handling counter-terrorism intelligence and new talks about a tax on financial transactions.

Macron announces overhaul of Greater Paris region administration

France — Link

Speaking before the French senate on plans for territorial reorganisation in France, President Emmanuel Macron said his government would this autumn move a reform to 'drastically simplify' the administrative structure of the Greater Paris region where a population of about ten million people governed by a patchwork of independent authorities.

Macron criticizes French government for holding back on reforms

France — Link

Former economy minister, who quit last week, said Hollande's government made choice 'not to launch a second wave of economic reforms'.

France's controversial labour law reform begins passage through parliament

France — Link

The bill, which has prompted weeks of nationwide protsests from unions and student groups, would free up hire and fire conditions for employers.

French PM's gamble to defuse student revolt against labour law reform


François Hollande’s expected bid for a new term of office in presidential elections next year is facing a serious threat from growing student anger over his government’s proposed new labour law. A string of national protests have brought student and trades unions onto the streets in recent weeks against what they see as a pro-business, retrograde reform that heightens job insecurity at a time of record unemployment. The perspective of a spring revolt prompted the government to present a package of measures for the young on Monday, worth a yearly 500 million euros and aimed at easing access to the labour market and to provide financial aid for the worst off. But while the measures were broadly met with approval, the student unions vowed to continue the battle against the reform. Faïza Zerouala reports.

French students take to streets in labour law reform protests

France — Link

School and university students took to the streets across France to protest government's proposed reform to free-up the labour market.

French government fails to convince students protesting labour reforms

France — Link

President François Hollande, already deeply unpopular, faces growing anger from left-wing youth organisations that would usually back him.

The triple menace of Hollande's reform of the French constitution

France — Opinion

French MPs this week voted in favour of the government’s proposed reforms of France’s constitution, which include enshrining into fundamental law state of emergency powers and the stripping of French nationality from convicted terrorists. The highly controversial bill will next month be debated by the Senate, and must finally be presented to an extraordinary ‘Congress’ meeting of both houses. Mediapart editor François Bonnet argues here that the proposed reform of the constitution carries a triple menace that threatens the heart of French democracy, the future of the socialist party, and also President François Hollande's ambition to gain a second term of office.

French MPs narrowly back move to strip convicted terrorists of nationality

France — Link

French lower house approves by a margin of 14 votes the measure to be written into the constitution and which has divided ruling socialist camp.

French PM presses on with plan to enshrine emergency powers in constitution

France — Link

The move would bar legal challenges to search and detention powers and the stripping of French citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism.