Analysis

  • Macron takes on the press with move to sue paparazzi

    Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte in a staged photo shoot during his election campaign. Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte in a staged photo shoot during his election campaign.

    French president Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint for “harassment” and “violation of personal privacy” against a photographer he alleges entered the private property in Marseille where the president and his wife Brigitte were holidaying. The photographer, Thibaut Daliphard, denies trespassing but was arrested and questioned for six hours in custody, when his computer and images were studied by police. Thomas Cantaloube and Michaël Hajdenberg report on the events which highlight Macron’s very firm control of his public image and the journalists who follow him, and also the highly questionable legal move of a president who is by virtue of the French constitution immune to prosecution.

  • Brigitte Macron and the 'First Lady' debate

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    Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron on the steps of the Elysée Palace. © Reuters Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron on the steps of the Elysée Palace. © Reuters

    The French government on Tuesday appeared to be backtracking on President Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to provide his wife Brigitte with an official, legal status of “First Lady”, with the announcement that the position will now be the subject of a “charter”. The development came after an online petition launched last month against creating an official title of First Lady has attracted almost 300,000 signatures. Mediapart political commentator Hubert Huertas argues here that, whether the role of “première dame” is enshrined in a charter or by official status, the petition has focussed attention on both a fundamental problem and a pile of hypocracy.

     

  • The IMF's curious support for Macron's economic strategy

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    France's economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, with Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF. © Reuters France's economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, with Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF. © Reuters

    To the immense satisfaction of France's finance ministers, the International Monetary Fund recently lavished praise on the new French government's economic policies. Yet the IMF's comments on French policy run contrary to the organisation's own admissions over its past analytical failings, its change in economic thinking and much of its own internal research. Romaric Godin says this inevitably raises questions about whether the IMF was taking a political stance towards President Emmanuel Macron's new administration rather than giving economic analysis.

  • Macron's tax breaks to make wealthiest even richer while inequalities set to grow

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    Emmanuel Macron’s new government has announced the introduction of sweeping tax cuts in its 2018 budget which it insists will stimulate growth and reduce unemployment. But a recent study by the French Economic Observatory found that the tax breaks will above all benefit the wealthiest 1% of the French population, without any significant benefit to the economy. Romaric Godin reports.

  • How Macron's row with top general lifts curtain on labour law reforms

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    President Emmanuel Macron and General Pierre de Villiers (standing) during this year's Bastille Day parade. © Reuters President Emmanuel Macron and General Pierre de Villiers (standing) during this year's Bastille Day parade. © Reuters

    President Emmanuel Macron’s government last week announced a package of public spending cuts, including 850 million euros to be slashed from France’s 2017 defence budget in an effort to bring the public deficit to below 3% of GDP, as demanded by the EU. That prompted a furious reaction from the French military’s chief-of-staff, General Pierre de Villiers, who was subsequently publicly slapped down by Macron, reminding the general who is “the boss”. In this wry analysis of the spat and the controversy it has provoked, Mediapart political commentator Hubert Huertas sees an illustration of political gymnastics by Left and Right, but also a surprising insight into Macron’s forthcoming labour law reforms.

  • The stakes behind the 'Trump and Macron show'

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    Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace july 13th. © Reuters Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace july 13th. © Reuters

    US President Donald Trump’s two-day visit to Paris last week saw him courted with great pomp and ceremony by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron whose red-carpet welcome provided Trump with a welcome diversion from political turmoil at home and a rare break from his isolation on the international stage. Macron, meanwhile, seized the opportunity of the vacuum created by Brexit and forthcoming elections in Germany to position Paris as Washington’s new “special friend” in Europe. Mediapart’s Washington correspondent Philippe Coste reports on how the manoeuvring was viewed from across the Atlantic.

  • How the Bettencourt scandal began and ended in a trial of freedom of the press

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    Seven years after the revelation of the so-called “Bettencourt affair”, the tentacular scandal of corruption, fraud, tax evasion, conflicts of interest and political funding centred on the entourage of Liliane Bettencourt, heiress of the L’Oréale cosmectics giant, those who exposed the crimes committed against the dementia-suffering billionaire were tried by a Bordeaux appeal court last month for invasion of privacy. They are Bettencourt’s butler, who secretly recorded compromising conversations of those who were swindling his employer, and Mediapart and weekly magazine Le Point which published the contents of the tapes. Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel explains here the history of an absurd legal procedure led by a public prosecutor’s office that has never accepted an initial court ruling that threw out the case on the grounds of the press’s duty to inform and the public’s right to know.

  • How Macron's solemn Versailles address was little more than a campaign speech

    President Emmanuel Macron addressing the special Congress at Versailles, July 3rd, 2017. © Capture d'écran France 2 President Emmanuel Macron addressing the special Congress at Versailles, July 3rd, 2017. © Capture d'écran France 2

    In a high-profile and highly-unusual speech before both chambers of the French Parliament in the sumptuous surroundings of Versailles on Monday July 3rd, President Emmanuel Macron claimed to be setting the “course” for his presidency. But, says Ellen Salvi, it turned out to be an hour-and-a-half of messages that had already been delivered during his election campaign and he announced little more than a promise of some institutional reforms.

  • Macron seeks to balance Left and Right with new government

    The official photo of the new French governemnt, June 2017. © Elysée The official photo of the new French governemnt, June 2017. © Elysée

    Following the recent Parliamentary elections President Emmanuel Macron has formed a new government under the same prime minister Édouard Philippe. However, what was supposed to be a minor technical change to the government has become rather larger in scale after the departure of four ministers in response to potential scandals. The result is a government that gives us a glimpse of how the new centrist president intends to balance his administration between the Left and the Right of the political spectrum. Stéphane Alliès, Christophe Gueugneau, Mathieu Magnaudeix and Mathilde Mathieu report.



  • Why President Macron chose Morocco for his first visit outside Europe

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    Emmanuel Macron with the King of Morocco Mohammed VI, right, during the French presdent's visit to Rabat on June 14th, 2017. © Reuters Emmanuel Macron with the King of Morocco Mohammed VI, right, during the French presdent's visit to Rabat on June 14th, 2017. © Reuters

    Emmanuel Macron's first visit beyond Europe as French head of state was to Morocco, where anti-corruption protests have caused unprecedented unrest over the past seven months. The visit brought succour to the embattled kingdom but was also a little unsettling for Rabat, which has yet to fully understand the new Macron administration. But it was essentially a trip to signal continuity in Franco-Moroccan relations. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.