Analysis

  • President Macron sets political trap for France's railway workers

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    A government-commissioned report on France's railway sector has put reform of the employment status and supposedly “exorbitant privileges” of the country's railway workers firmly at the centre of the political agenda. These changes would themselves save around 100 million to 150 million euros in savings over ten years – a modest amount compared with the massive debts of the train operator SNCF. But as Martine Orange reports, the French presidency's real aim is to win a political battle by getting pubic opinion on its side.

  • Town v country: rural French schools feel sacrificed in favour of urban areas

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    A classroom in a primary school in Marseille. © Reuters A classroom in a primary school in Marseille. © Reuters

    The education authorities have just made their annual announcement about which primary school classes are being closed and which are being opened in the next academic year. Teaching unions and elected representatives in rural areas fear village schools are getting fewer teaching posts so that the government can implement its flagship policy of halving class sizes in education priority zones - which are overwhelmingly in deprived urban areas. Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer rejects the claims. Mediapart's education correspondent Faïza Zerouala reports.

  • Macron's migrant clampdown faces mounting opposition

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    French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday visited the Channel port of Calais, which for years has been a magnet for thousands of migrants from Africa and the Middle East seeking a passage to Britain from makeshift camps set up around the town. While his presence was ostensibly to address the local crisis, Macron’s visit also served as a platform to present his government’s proposed toughening up of immigration laws. But the planned clampdown on so-called economic migrants, who face mass deportations, has met with outrage not only from organisations defending migrants’ rights, but also from Macron’s own allies.

  • Macron targets reform of France's 'disgraceful' public broadcasting

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    President Emmanuel Macron seems set to reform French public broadcasting. © Eric Feferberg / Reuters President Emmanuel Macron seems set to reform French public broadcasting. © Eric Feferberg / Reuters

    A row has broken out after President Emmanuel Macron reportedly described French public broadcasting as a “disgrace to the Republic”. His office has denied the exact phrasing but there is little doubt that the president is not happy with the quality of programmes or the way that the country's public broadcasting sector is run. It is equally clear, reports Loup Espargilière, that President Macron is planning major reforms in this area.

  • Old habits die hard: Macron seeks end to traditional French approach to Africa

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    Emmanuel Macron speaking at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso on Tuesday November 28th, 2017. © Reuters Emmanuel Macron speaking at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso on Tuesday November 28th, 2017. © Reuters

    On his first tour of Africa last week President Emmanuel Macron vowed to do away with France's old and discredited approach to the continent. Addressing 800 students in the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou, the French head of state certainly struck a fresh tone, talked of new projects and themes and signalled the passing of an old generation. But as Mediapart's editor François Bonnet reports, the old and serious problems confronting France in its relations with Africa have not gone away.

  • Study finds surge in numbers of people in poverty in France

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    A report released this month by an independent research body on social exclusion calculates that up to one million more people in France fell below the poverty line between 2005 and 2015. While the financial and economic crisis is largely responsible, the slight recovery of growth has had little, if any, effect on easing the numbers of poor, one third of who are children. Laurent Mauduit analyses the data.

  • Defending the indefensible: the French state's justification of press censorship in the Bettencourt affair

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    In July 2013, Mediapart was ordered by a French court to remove all its published articles that cited secret tape recordings made by the butler of Liliane Bettencourt which provided evidence of how the late heiress to the L’Oréal cosmetics giant, suffering from dementia, was despoiled of part of her wealth by her close entourage. The tapes were at the centre of what became known as the Bettencourt affair and led to the convictions of several of those involved in the scam. Yet the censorship of the contents of the recordings remains, and Mediapart has challenged the ruling before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel analyses here the French state’s submission to the ECHR in defence of the censorship, and highlights its absurd and contradictory attempt to justify the violation of the right to know.

  • How Paris trial shone light on violent, hate-filled world of Merah family

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    Zoulikha Aziri, the mother of Mohamed and Kader Merah, on the first day of the trial into the 2012 murders at Toulouse and Montauban. © REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer Zoulikha Aziri, the mother of Mohamed and Kader Merah, on the first day of the trial into the 2012 murders at Toulouse and Montauban. © REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

    On Thursday November 2nd, 2017, Abdelkader 'Kader' Merah was cleared of being an accomplice to his brother Mohamed's 2012 murder of three soldiers and four Jewish civilians, including three children, in south-west France, but found guilty of being part of a terrorist conspiracy. Mediapart examines what the trial in Paris revealed about the family from which both men came. As Matthieu Suc reports, it was a family characterised by casual, routine violence and hatred, against a backdrop of anti-Semitism and radical Islam.

  • President Macron plays waiting game in long-awaited TV interview

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    In his first set-piece television interview since becoming France's president in May, Emmanuel Macron was in unrepentant mood, refusing to apologise over a string of controversial remarks which he now claims have been misunderstood. Speaking on the privately-owned TF1 television station, the centrist president also said the country would have to wait for up to two years for his reforms to take effect. Hubert Huertas analyses President Macron's much-anticipated television appearance.

  • French plans to tax online giants face real-world obstacles

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    France is spearheading a plan to tax the turnover of internet giants that manage to avoid paying corporate taxes on profits in European countries where they operate. But despite its bold appearance, and the backing of seven other countries, the plan is beset by political and highly technical problems. And even at this embryonic stage it has little chance of succeeding, writes Romaric Godin.