Analysis

  • The abject intimidation of French investigative journalists

    By
    Chief Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz. © Reuters Chief Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz. © Reuters

    A senior reporter from French daily Le Monde has been summoned for questioning later this month by the French domestic intelligence agency, the DGSI, over her investigations into the relationships of President Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced former aide, Alexandre Benalla. The move follows a recent attempt by the Paris public prosecution services to carry out a search of the offices of Mediapart, also following its reports into Benalla’s covert activities, and separate summonses for questioning this month by the DGSI of journalists who revealed the French government’s false claims denying the offensive use of French-made weapons in the war in Yemen. Fabrice Arfi, of Mediapart’s investigative reports team, details the new offensive against journalists who champion the public’s right to know, and the person leading the campaign against them, namely chief Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz.  

  • Why plans to cap top-up pensions for France's bosses are just for show

    By
    Left to right: Carlos Ghosn, formerly of Renault, Tom Enders who is leaving Airbus and Thierry Pilenko of TechnipFMC. © Reuters Left to right: Carlos Ghosn, formerly of Renault, Tom Enders who is leaving Airbus and Thierry Pilenko of TechnipFMC. © Reuters

    Over the years there have been repeated scandals about the lavish top-up pensions awarded to the bosses of some of France's biggest firms, most recently involving Renault, Airbus and energy industry engineering firm TechnicFMC. Now, in a bid to end such controversies, the government's finance minister Bruno Le Maire is promising legislation to restrict the level of these lucrative perks. But as Mediapart's Martine Orange reports, the measure already looks as if it will be little more than window dressing.

  • Feared and revered: US views on France’s ‘yellow vests’

    By
    Yellow vest protestors on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris, November 2018. © Reuters Yellow vest protestors on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris, November 2018. © Reuters

    The two-month-long ‘gilets jaunes’, or ‘yellow vest’, movement in France, protesting the fall in living standards for low- and middle-income earners and against the powers of the country’s social and political elite, continues largely unabated. It has attracted worldwide attention, and not least in the United States, where the Left sees it as an echo of the Occupy Wall Street movement, where also supporters of President Donald Trump have hi-jacked it as a new symbol of protest against the liberal establishment, and where the latter interpret it as a devil of populism. Mediapart’s US correspondent Mathieu Magnaudeix reports from New York on the confused reactions across the Atlantic to the largely misunderstood revolt in France.

  • Macron weakened by departures from entourage

    By
    From left to right, part of President Macron's inner circle Stéphane Séjourné, Sylvain Fort, Julien Denormandie, Benjamin Griveaux, Richard Ferrand. In the middle is Sibeth Ndiaye. At the Élysée May 14th 2017. © Reuters From left to right, part of President Macron's inner circle Stéphane Séjourné, Sylvain Fort, Julien Denormandie, Benjamin Griveaux, Richard Ferrand. In the middle is Sibeth Ndiaye. At the Élysée May 14th 2017. © Reuters

    The head of communications at the Élysée has just announced that he is to leave his post by the end of January. Sylvain Fort, who is close to Emmanuel Macron having worked alongside him for more than two years, proclaimed his “total loyalty” to the French president. But this and reports of other possible departures from the president's inner circle have further weakened a presidency which is embroiled in the affair involving former security aide Alexandre Benalla and the ongoing social movement carried out by the so-called from the yellow vest protestors. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.

  • State struggles to accept process of reconciliation in post-dictatorship Tunisia

    By
    Sihem Bensedrine, president of Tunisia's Instance Vérité et Dignité (IVD) or the Truth and Dignity Commission, at its last meeting. © DR Sihem Bensedrine, president of Tunisia's Instance Vérité et Dignité (IVD) or the Truth and Dignity Commission, at its last meeting. © DR

    On December 31st 2018 the independent body charged with tackling the abuses committed during the former dictatorship in Tunisia and helping victims was formally wound up after four and a half years of work. But despite the Truth and Dignity Commission's official status it has not received much support from the key organs of the state, including the presidency, in particular on the key issue of corruption. Lilia Blaise reports on the legacy of the commission's work.

  • Macron facing the scenario of a return to the urns

    By
    French President Emmanuel Macron. © Reuters French President Emmanuel Macron. © Reuters

    No French president or prime minister over the past 50 years has survived a political crisis like that in which Emmanuel Macron has become engulfed with the ‘gilets jaunes’ – Yellow Vest – movement, which is calling for improved living conditions for low- and middle-income earners, and increased participation of citizens in political decision making. In this analysis of the crisis, François Bonnet argues why Macron, in order to save his five-year term in office, appears to have little other choice than to return to the urns.

  • The 'colour prejudice' that shames France

    By
    Le Paris Saint-Germain team during training. © Reuters Le Paris Saint-Germain team during training. © Reuters

    Seven years after Mediapart's revelations about discriminatory ethnic quotas in French football, our 'Football Leaks 2' investigation revealed how French football's most prestigious club, PSG, kept files on the ethnic origins of potential youth recruits, writes Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel. What, he asks, does this persistent prejudice say about France?

  • The divisions behind the latest 'gilets jaunes' social protests in Paris

    Scenes from the first 'gilets jaunes' protests in Paris, November 17th, 2018. © E.S. Scenes from the first 'gilets jaunes' protests in Paris, November 17th, 2018. © E.S.

    This Saturday December 1st the so-called 'gilets jaunes' or yellow hi-vis vest protesters will take to the streets of central Paris for the third weekend in a row. This time other groups – unions, anti-racist movements and student groups – are also planning demonstrations in the capital. But while they might all be demonstrating at the same time, these different components of the current social movement sweeping across France are not all on the same wavelength when it comes to their aims and objectives. Mathilde Goanec, Dan Israel and Faïza Zerouala report.

  • Political crisis as Macron forced to accept interior minister's resignation

    Qutting: interior minister Gérard Collomb in Marseille, May 24th, 2018. © REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier Qutting: interior minister Gérard Collomb in Marseille, May 24th, 2018. © REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

    After ten days of open crisis at the highest echelons of state, President Emmanuel Macron was on Tuesday October 2nd, 2018, forced to accept the resignation of interior minister Gérard Collomb – just hours after refusing it. Prime minister Édouard Philippe will become interim interior minister in the short term. Coming weeks after the resignation of high-profile environment minister Nicolas Hulot, this new departure further weakens the government, as Pauline Graulle, Manuel Jardinaud and Ellen Salvi report.

  • Just 17 months after election, Macron's Élysée already has an 'end of reign' atmosphere

    By
     © Reuters © Reuters

    A series of controversial affairs involving key staff, some surprise resignations, comments from senior figures in his own administration and dysfunctional behaviour at all levels of government have left President Emmanuel Macron weaker than ever after the summer. There is growing concern inside his entourage where many now recognise that the presidency has a problem; and that this problem involves the president himself. Ellen Salvi reports.