Opinions

  • Why nuclear weapons must be abolished

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    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches a missile launch in a photo issued on September 16, 2017, by that country's official news agency. © KCNA North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches a missile launch in a photo issued on September 16, 2017, by that country's official news agency. © KCNA

    The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition of hundreds of NGOs from dozens of countries, puts in stark relief the irresponsibility of those states – including France – who base their security on dissuasion by terror. Mediapart’s publishing editor and co-founder Edwy Plenel argues that far from keeping the peace, nuclear weapons spread the risk of a terrible catastrophe, as the current Korean crisis shows.

  • The blush-saving rhetoric surrounding France's labour law reforms

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    The French government has presented the detail of its labour law reform, which were a pillar of President Emmanuel Macron’s election manifesto and which he said was urgent "because it will create jobs". But already, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has downplayed the importance of the reforms, which he now describes as “just the start”. Mediapart economics correspondent Romaric Godin argues in this op-ed article that this is a typical example of the rhetoric surrounding liberal reforms, such as during the European debt crisis, in which their limited results become obscured by the supposed necessity for yet more urgent deregulation.

  • Starched stiff: a translator's view of UN-speak French

    By Santiago Artozqui (En attendant Nadeau)
    Inside United Nations headquaters in New York. © Reuters Inside United Nations headquaters in New York. © Reuters

    Like most international institutions, the United Nations functions in several languages, demanding the translation of its thousands upon thousands of documents of various kinds into six tongues. But the task of its professional translators is far from straightforward, as Santiago Artozqui, a translator of UN texts from English to French, explains here. Not least is what he calls “a misplaced Atticism” required of French-language documents which “dunks the language in starch and leaves it as stiff as the shirt of a notable”.

     

  • The migrant crisis tragedy and the duty of hospitality

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    Migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea on October 20th 2016. © Reuters Migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea on October 20th 2016. © Reuters

    Last week a court in Nice handed down a suspended prison sentence to a farmer convicted of helping the illegal entry of three Eritrean migrants into France. Meanwhile, the Italian authorities this month adopted a hostile approach to NGOs operating missions to rescue migrants from perilous conditions in the Mediterranean, accusing them of aiding illegal immigration. In this op-ed article, Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel denounces what he says is an outrageous criminalisation of fundamental acts of humanity, which illustrates both moral bankruptcy and a gross ignorance of the reality behind the migrant crisis.

  • Boomerang effect: Hinkley nuclear project comes back to haunt Emmanuel Macron

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    Emmanuel Macron, then economy minister, and EDF boss Jean-Bernard Lévy at a nuclear power station at Civaux, near Poitiers, March 17th, 2016. © Reuters Emmanuel Macron, then economy minister, and EDF boss Jean-Bernard Lévy at a nuclear power station at Civaux, near Poitiers, March 17th, 2016. © Reuters

    The new French government has reacted as if it were surprised at the news that the French-led project to build a new nuclear power station in south-west England is already behind schedule and over budget. Yet it has known about the financial and technical risks posed by the Hinkley Point scheme for a long time, says Martine Orange. For the minister who personally backed and oversaw the massive project during the last presidency now himself occupies the Élysée.

  • Wanted: diverse National Assembly to counter domination of the presidency

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    Elections take place this month for France's National Assembly. © Reuters Elections take place this month for France's National Assembly. © Reuters

    Through the havoc it wreaked on the established political system, the recent French presidential election showed the hunger that exists for democratic renewal. But if the Parliamentary elections later this month give Emmanuel Macron's government an absolute majority it would be a retrograde step to presidential supremacy and a compliant Parliament, argues Mediapart’s publishing editor and co-founder Edwy Plenel. That is why, he says, we need a pluralist National Assembly encompassing a diverse, democratic, social and environmental opposition.

  • French presidential election: saying no to disaster

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    The far right's Marine Le Pen during a politcal rally at Villepinte near Paris on May 1st, 2017. © Reuters The far right's Marine Le Pen during a politcal rally at Villepinte near Paris on May 1st, 2017. © Reuters

    Mediapart is calling for a vote for Emmanuel Macron against Marine Le Pen in the second round of the French presidential election on Sunday May 7th. This is not out of approval for his manifesto, writes Mediapart’s publishing editor and co-founder Edwy Plenel, but in defence of democracy as an arena where one has the freedom to object - including against Macron's policies. For under the authoritarian and identity-obsessed far right, he says, this fundamental right would certainly come under challenge.

  • The French presidential elections and the need to mobilise beyond the urns

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    A rally at the Place de la République in central Paris. A rally at the Place de la République in central Paris.

    The good news to arise out of the French presidential election campaign is that it has accentuated the crisis of the French presidential system, argues Mediapart’s publishing editor and co-founder Edwy Plenel. The bad news is that it is being played out like a game of Russian roulette. What will be the final result is all the more uncertain because of the potential influence of events like Thursday’s terrorist attack in Paris. Which is why, aside the vote itself, we must above all trust in the role of society and the mobilisation of citizen movements.

  • France's dying Fifth Republic reduced to a human interest story

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    François Fillon's presidential campaign has descended into a grim farce. François Fillon's presidential campaign has descended into a grim farce.

    The French Republic is in its death throes, having been taken hostage by a maniac – François Fillon - who is riding roughshod over the legal system, insulting the press, scorning his own elected representatives and calling on divisive factions for help. Having destroyed political parties, corrupted Parliament and having undermined voting itself, the Fifth Republic is now reaching the climax of its democracy-destroying operation. It is time to get rid of it, writes Mediapart's editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel, before it is too late.

  • 'Tortellini pact' goes cold as Manuel Valls launches bid for presidency

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    Matteo Renzi (l) and Manuel Valls in September 2014. Matteo Renzi (l) and Manuel Valls in September 2014.

    Manuel Valls on Monday announced he was resigning as French prime minister in order to run to become the socialist candidate in next year’s presidential elections. On the same day, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced his resignation following his heavy defeat in a referendum on his proposed constitutional reforms. In 2014, the two men trumpeted their shared vision of “modernising” the European Left. Mediapart editor François Bonnet argues why the fall of Renzi should sound alarm bells for Valls.