Opinions

  • Why the French government must drop its brutal and unfair pension reforms

    The demonstration held against the pension reforms in Paris on January 19th 2023. © Photo Marie Magnin pour Mediapart The demonstration held against the pension reforms in Paris on January 19th 2023. © Photo Marie Magnin pour Mediapart

    The pension changes proposed by President Emmanuel Macron – the fourth reform in twenty years and which in this case will push the retirement age back from 62 to 64 - will leave no one better off. The demonstrators who have taken to the streets on January 19th and January 31st have fully grasped that point, say Mediapart's Stéphane Alliès, Carine Fouteau and Dan Israel in this op-ed article. They argue that the stubbornness shown by the government, which looks set to force the reforms through the French Parliament, represents a danger to democracy.

  • French state doles out millions to newspapers owned by billionaire press barons

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    The average kiosk sales for national daily newspapers in France now barely exceed 150,000 copies a day. © Photo Marta Nascimento / REA The average kiosk sales for national daily newspapers in France now barely exceed 150,000 copies a day. © Photo Marta Nascimento / REA

    As a result of the digital revolution, print versions of France's national daily newspapers sell barely more than 150,000 copies a day at kiosks and other outlets. This contrasts with a figure of 1.3 million daily copies back in 1990. Yet the French state  always seems ready to come to the aid of the various billionaires who own France's national titles.  Just a few weeks ago  the government set aside 30 million euros in extra help for the printed press. It is an approach which is both unjust and incoherent, argues Mediapart co-founder Laurent Mauduit in this op-ed article.

  • Where is the French Left heading?

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    The NUPES convention held on May 7th 2022 at Aubervilliers north of Paris. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart The NUPES convention held on May 7th 2022 at Aubervilliers north of Paris. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    Despite the creation of the NUPES leftwing alliance ahead of the legislative elections in 2022, the French Left is still mired in a crisis of faith.  Beset by fragmentation and having declined to form a new democratic structure, none of the political parties and movements that just eight months ago formed the Nouvelle Union Populaire Écologique et Sociale now seems willing to press ahead with a joint reconstruction of the Left. Yet such a move is essential, argues Mediapart's co-editorial director Stéphane Alliès in this op-ed article.

  • When compulsory education in French schools no longer seems quite so compulsory

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    A primary school in Paris, September 2022. © Photo Corinne Simon / Hans Lucas via AFP A primary school in Paris, September 2022. © Photo Corinne Simon / Hans Lucas via AFP

    Ministers have made it clear that some schools may have to close in the mornings this winter if France undergoes selective power cuts to cope with energy demand. Coming three years after the first Covid lockdowns, when schools were systematically closed, this policy once again raises questions over the priority being given to ensuring that France's schools remain open and that pupils keep learning. In this op-ed article, Mediapart's education correspondent Mathilde Goanec argues that the universal principle of compulsory education for all is now coming under constant attack.

  • Climate change: hurtling towards the point of no return

    Participants at the COP 27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on November 9th 2022. © Photo Mohammed Abed / AFP Participants at the COP 27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on November 9th 2022. © Photo Mohammed Abed / AFP

    As the United Nations COP 27 climate conference continues through this week at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, more than 30 media organisations from around the world, including Mediapart, are publishing a joint appeal, in an initiative led by British daily The Guardian, for agreement to be found on urgent action in face of climate change. “The UN process may not be perfect,” notes the appeal, “but it has provided nations with a target to save the planet, which must be pursued at COP27 to stave off an existential risk to humanity.”

  • Why French ministers prefer criminalising green protests to tackling the climate crisis

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    A banner against the planned irrigation reservoir at the Sainte-Soliine site on October 30th 2022. © Pascal Lachenaud / AFP A banner against the planned irrigation reservoir at the Sainte-Soliine site on October 30th 2022. © Pascal Lachenaud / AFP

    After environmentalists protested over plans by farmers in western France to build a large irrigation reservoir, interior minister Gérald Darmanin likened some of the demonstrators to “ecoterrorists”. In doing so, say Mathieu Dejean and Fabien Escalona in this op-ed article, the minister was spouting paranoid fantasies while ignoring warnings about whether the planet can remain habitable. At the same time, they write, the country's main green party – which should be setting the political agenda - remains bogged down in internal squabbles.

  • Why Macron must bear responsibility as his justice minister faces trial for conflict of interest

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    Emmanuel Macron and justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti at the start of a round-table event to discuss the justice system, October 18th 2021. © Photo Thibaud Moritz / Abaca Emmanuel Macron and justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti at the start of a round-table event to discuss the justice system, October 18th 2021. © Photo Thibaud Moritz / Abaca

    For the first time in French political and legal history, a serving justice minister has been sent for trial before the Cour de Justice de la République. Éric Dupond-Moretti will appear before the CJR – the special court that deals with the alleged offences of ministers while in office – accused of an unlawful conflict of interest. He is said to have put pressure on anti-corruption prosecutors and a judge. However, argues Fabrice Arfi in this op-ed article, President Emmanuel Macron must also accept a major share of the responsibility for the affair. It was the head of state who appointed the former high-profile and outspoken lawyer to the post - and who then chose to keep him in office after the allegations first broke.

  • 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.