Opinions

  • The French government's irresponsible dithering over energy crisis

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    A worker from ENEDIS, the company that looks after the power grid for domestic users, in 2014. © Photo Jean-Sébastien Evard / AFP A worker from ENEDIS, the company that looks after the power grid for domestic users, in 2014. © Photo Jean-Sébastien Evard / AFP

    A number of European governments introduced detailed energy conservation plans in the spring to tackle the energy crisis. In contrast, the French government has been happy simply to talk about the need for 'restraint' combined with vague calls for people to cut energy use, argues Martine Orange in this op-ed article. She says it has now taken the country's electricity grid operator RTE to spell out just how urgent the situation is.

  • French justice minister jumps on far-right bandwagon in row over prison 'game show'

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    An exercise yard at Fresnes prison, June 27th 2022. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart An exercise yard at Fresnes prison, June 27th 2022. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    A video showing prisoners go-karting and taking part in other competitions during an event imitating a popular reality TV show at France's second-biggest prison has caused a political row. On Saturday, justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti waded into the controversy by promising an “investigation” into the event held at Fresnes prison south of Paris in July.  It was organised by the prison's authorities and had been approved by senior managers in the prisons department, part of the Ministry of Justice, while officials insist it received no public funding. In this opinion article, Camille Polloni says it only took a few politicians on the far-right to express outrage over the event for the justice minister to overlook the facts and to dance to their political tune.

  • Migrants die, the world looks the other way

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    Migrants saved by rescuers from SOS Méditerranée in February 2021. © Nejma Brahim / Mediapart. Migrants saved by rescuers from SOS Méditerranée in February 2021. © Nejma Brahim / Mediapart.

    From the north of France to the Aegean Sea, from the Mediterranean to Mexico, the number of deaths at our borders is rising.  More than 24,000 people are officially known to have perished on the perilous Mediterranean sea route alone since 2014. Yet these recurring tragedies produce no reaction from our political leaders. In this opinion article Mediapart's Nejma Brahim says this casual acceptance of migrant deaths cannot continue.

  • How wealthy French elite avoid the consequences of the climate chaos they create

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    Golfers at Rochefort-en-Yvelines, near Paris, August 5th 2022. © Photo Alain Jocard / AFP Golfers at Rochefort-en-Yvelines, near Paris, August 5th 2022. © Photo Alain Jocard / AFP

    Thousands of French householders are having to be evacuated because of wildfires, others are being deprived of drinking water from their taps while some are even dying at work because of the heat. Yet meanwhile the ultra-rich are jetting around in private planes, benefiting from exemptions to be able to continue to play golf and racking up profits thanks to rocketing fossil fuel prices. In this opinion article Mediapart's Mickaël Correia argues that the French government is itself giving a stamp of approval to the rich elite's climate 'separatism' through its approach to environmental policy.

  • Jean-Luc Mélenchon's China stance causes tensions on French Left

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    Beijing August 4th, 2022. © Photo Noel Celis/AFP Beijing August 4th, 2022. © Photo Noel Celis/AFP

    The broad leftwing alliances NUPES became a major force in France's National Assembly following legislative elections in June. However, several leading figures in the alliance have voiced their strong disagreement with its main architect, the veteran radical left politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon, over the latter's stance on China and Taiwan. As François Bougon and Mathieu Dejean argue here in this opinion article, Mélenchon's rehashing of Chinese state propaganda stems from deep-seated anti-Americanism.

  • Why Macron's decision to axe French TV licence is a threat to public broadcast news

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    A banner at the demonstration against the scrapping of the TV licence, Paris June 28th 2022. © Photo Bérénice Gabriel / Mediapart A banner at the demonstration against the scrapping of the TV licence, Paris June 28th 2022. © Photo Bérénice Gabriel / Mediapart

    On Saturday July 23rd MP's voted to abolish France's television licence, a tax that funds public broadcasting and which has existed since 1948. It currently raises 3.2 billion euros a year. The scrapping of the licence fee was a surprise and little-debated campaign promise made by Emmanuel Macron in this year's presidential election. The president says the decision was taken to help reduce the 'cost of living' burden on French households. But as Mediapart's Dan Israel argues here in this opinion article, the move poses a serious threat to France's public broadcasters who will now have to rely on a government grant from VAT receipts rather than their own dedicated tax. A number of senior figures in public broadcasting have warned about the potential threat this could cause to the independence and quality of editorial content.

  • How Macron became the far-right's useful idiot

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    Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen at the Élysée, November 21st 2017. © Photo Denis Allard / REA Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen at the Élysée, November 21st 2017. © Photo Denis Allard / REA

    By playing at being the sorcerer's apprentice and pitching himself as the only acceptable option between the radical Left and the far-right, Emmanuel Macron has allowed Rassemblement National to become a major force within the National Assembly, argues Ellen Salvi in this opinion article. Rather than fighting against the racist and xenophobic ideas of Marine Le Pen's party, she writes, he ended up giving them a helping hand out of sheer political cynicism. Following Sunday's legislative elections the far-right party will have 89 MPs in the new National Assembly.

  • Why we should back the leftwing NUPES alliance against this divisive presidency

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    The NUPES convention at Aubervilliers in the northern suburbs of Paris, May 7th 2022. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart The NUPES convention at Aubervilliers in the northern suburbs of Paris, May 7th 2022. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    In the decisive second round of voting in France's legislative elections this Sunday June 19th, a vote for the NUPES alliance of the Left and environmentalists is both ethically essential and a political necessity, argues Mediapart's publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this opinion article. To vote in this way, he writes, is to reject the duplicity of a divisive presidency and to embrace political change via a parliamentary route.

  • Why the 'Macronista' attack on France's leftwing alliance is cynical and antidemocratic

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    The election night gathering of Macron's Ensemble movement in Paris, June 12th 2022. © Photo Ludovic Marin / AFP The election night gathering of Macron's Ensemble movement in Paris, June 12th 2022. © Photo Ludovic Marin / AFP

    In next Sunday's decisive second round in France's legislative elections there will be nearly sixty constituencies where candidates from the broad left alliance known as NUPES will be in a head-to-head contest with far-right candidates. Yet rather than telling its voters to back the leftwing candidates against the far-right Rassemblement National, senior figures in Emmanuel Macron's ruling party have labelled both those on the right and many on the left as extremists. And they say they will advise their voters whom to back on a case by case basis. Mediapart's Ellen Salvi argues in this opinion article that this cynical approach amounts to bad faith on the part of the president's political movement. She says it goes against both political principles and political history – and also flies in the face of everything that the president claimed to be defending in his recent presidential campaign.

  • Champions League final chaos: France picks up the trophy for incompetence

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    A police officer charges a supporter at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis on Saturday May 28th. © Photo Maryam El Hamouchi / AFP A police officer charges a supporter at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis on Saturday May 28th. © Photo Maryam El Hamouchi / AFP

    The showcase event of European football, the final of the Champions League, was marred by numerous incidents at the Stade de France in the northern suburbs of Paris on Saturday night. Hundreds of Liverpool fans were 'kettled', blocked at the entrance to the stadium, and then tear or pepper gassed by police officers before the club's match with Real Madrid. As Ilyes Ramdani writes in this opinion article, this failure comes on the back of years spent by the French public authorities pursuing a repressive, incompetent and often violent approach to maintaining order at public events.