Opinions

  • Why submarine sale row shows France must re-think its role in the world

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    Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron at the G7 leaders’ meeting hosted by the UK, June 11th 2021. © Photo Andrew Parsons / 10 Downing Str / Agence Anadolu / AFP Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron at the G7 leaders’ meeting hosted by the UK, June 11th 2021. © Photo Andrew Parsons / 10 Downing Str / Agence Anadolu / AFP

    After a phone conversation on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron appeared to have at least partly defused tensions over the new military pact between Australia, the UK and the US which entailed the cancellation of Australia’s purchase of 12 French submarines worth 56 billion euros. In this op-ed article, Mediapart’s international affairs specialist François Bougon argues that the diplomatic crisis of recent days should prompt a re-think of France’s global role and an end to the notion of its grandeur and exceptionalism, a heritage handed down from Charles de Gaulle.

  • How the Benalla bodyguard affair revealed Macron's brand of populism

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    Alexandre Benalla and Emmanuel Macron at Le Touquet in northern France, June 2017. © CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT / AFP Alexandre Benalla and Emmanuel Macron at Le Touquet in northern France, June 2017. © CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

    On Monday September 13th 2021 President Emmanuel Macron's former bodyguard and security adviser Alexandre Benalla stood trial following an incident in 2018 when he was filmed assaulting protestors at a demonstration. In addition to assault, Benalla is also accused of interfering in the operation of the police without lawful excuse, of forgery and using a false instrument in relation to a diplomatic passport and unlawfully carrying a firearm. In this op-ed article Mediapart's Fabrice Arfi argues that the importance of the Benalla case goes beyond the conduct of the president's trusted bodyguard and adviser. He says that the high-profile affair, and in particular a speech that the president gave just one week after it was revealed in the press, showed the world there is something quite illiberal about Emmanuel Macron.

  • Emmanuel Macron, president of discord

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     © Dylan Martinez/ AFP © Dylan Martinez/ AFP

    The scale of protests across France this summer against the policies being deployed to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic is the price being paid by the head of state for his authoritarian, lying and irresponsible presidency, says Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this op-ed article. Never, he argues, has the issue of democracy been so relevant - and so urgent.

  • Macron the 'Sun President' and his parallel universe

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    Emmanuel Macron and Bernard Arnault at the refurbished La Samaritaine in Paris on June 21st 2021. © AFP Emmanuel Macron and Bernard Arnault at the refurbished La Samaritaine in Paris on June 21st 2021. © AFP

    Monday June 21st marked the annual celebration of music in France known as the Fête de la Musique. But, says Mediapart co-founder François Bonnet in this op-ed article, the event was not celebrated in quite the same way by everyone. There was champagne and state honours for the rich and powerful at the Élysée on the one hand; and baton charges and tear gas for young people listening to music in the streets on the other. In what proved a bizarre juxtaposition, he argues, the French presidency managed to organise two entirely separate worlds, that only co-existed side by side thanks to social and police violence.

  • How France's shameful deportations help Ramzan Kadyrov's brutal Chechen regime

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    Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov. © (grozny-tv) Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov. © (grozny-tv)

    In recent months France's interior minister Gérald Darmanin has ordered the expulsion of around a dozen Chechens from the country. This does not just trample over fundamental rights of asylum and the country's commitments under European treaties, says Mediapart's co-founder François Bonnet in this op-ed article. He argues it also means that France is effectively collaborating with Chechen's notorious leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a man accused of overseeing the murder and torture of his opponents.

  • The catastrophe now upon us

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    Emmanuel Macron on a walkabout in Valence, south-east France, after he was slapped by a man in the neighbouring town of Tain L'Hermitage, June 8th 2021. © Nicolas Guyonnet / Hans Lucas via AFP Emmanuel Macron on a walkabout in Valence, south-east France, after he was slapped by a man in the neighbouring town of Tain L'Hermitage, June 8th 2021. © Nicolas Guyonnet / Hans Lucas via AFP

    After he was slapped earlier this week in a town in south-east France by a man shouting a medieval royalist battle cry, President Emmanuel Macron described the assault as an “incident” that should be “relativised”, and that “all is well”. On the contrary, writes Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this opinion article, all is going badly, and the slap illustrates the far-right violence that has been set loose by the cynicism and irresponsibility of the Macron presidency.

  • How French police are laying down the law to the Republic

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    Interior minister Gérald Darmanin meets police officers at Lille on May 14th 2021. © Célia Consolini/Hans Lucas via AFP Interior minister Gérald Darmanin meets police officers at Lille on May 14th 2021. © Célia Consolini/Hans Lucas via AFP

    The French Republic should not be subject to the demands of the police. Yet this democratic principle is under challenge from the demonstration held by police officers on Wednesday, May 19th. Organisers of the protest in front of the National Assembly in Paris, which was supported by members of the current government, the far right and the two historic parties of the Left, are demanding minimum sentences for anyone found guilty of attacks on police officers. This undermines one of the key principles of the French Republic, that the police force is there to serve all citizens, and not to seek law changes in its own interest or the interests of the government of the day, argue Mediapart's publishing editor Edwy Plenel and political correspondent Ellen Salvi in this op-ed article.

  • Because ‘our time has come'

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    Participants in the first ‘International congress of black writers and artists’, held in Paris in 1956. © © Présence Africaine Participants in the first ‘International congress of black writers and artists’, held in Paris in 1956. © © Présence Africaine

    A fiery debate has erupted in France over the holding of meetings on issues of discrimination to which are admitted only those who are affected by such prejudice. In this opinion article, Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel says the furore over such gatherings is but the latest offensive against the self-organisation of those who are dominated in society, whether that be because of their appearance, religion, gender or social condition.

  • The indecent pay of France's top executives

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    Bernard Charlès (right), boss of Dassault Systèmes, France's top-earning executive in 2019 with 24.7 million euros. © Bertrand Guay/AFP Bernard Charlès (right), boss of Dassault Systèmes, France's top-earning executive in 2019 with 24.7 million euros. © Bertrand Guay/AFP

    The latest annual report by investors’ advisory agency Proxinvest on the remunerations paid to the chief executives of France’s 120 most traded stock exchange companies reveals a staggering increase in payments in 2019. In this op-ed article, Mediapart economy and finance correspondent Laurent Mauduit details the figures and argues why they represent a serious injustice when millions of French households face an economic crisis that threatens to plunge them into poverty.  

  • The disgraceful events of the Place de la République

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    Place de la République in central Paris on Monday evening, moments before the police charge. © Jerome Gilles / NurPhoto via AFP Place de la République in central Paris on Monday evening, moments before the police charge. © Jerome Gilles / NurPhoto via AFP

    On Monday evening in central Paris, migrants and journalists were physically abused by police engaged in a brutal, manu militari evacuation of a makeshift camp set up on the Place de la République. The police violence was exposed in images circulating on social media and which would be banned if draft legislation currently before parliament is approved. In this joint op-ed article, Mediapart co-editor in chief Carine Fouteau and social affairs editor Mathilde Mathieu argue that the overnight events are a representation of the liberticidal drift of President Emmanuel Macron’s administration, and may prove to be a political turning point.