Opinions

  • This shameful Europe

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    The newly appointed European Commission, whose members take up their posts on November 1st, is to include a vice-president responsible for migration and home affairs with the title of “Protecting our European Way of Life”. Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel argues here that this semantic choice is a shameful concession to the continent’s far-right, whereby issues of identity have overturned social demands.

  • This 'hotel republic' gravy train that dishonours France

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    François de Rugy leaving the environment ministry on July 17th 2019 following his resignation. © Reuters François de Rugy leaving the environment ministry on July 17th 2019 following his resignation. © Reuters

    Mediapart’s revelations earlier this month of the use of public funds by French environment minister François de Rugy for his dinner parties and decorations of his grace and favour apartment led to his resignation last week. Amid accusations from some complacent quarters of a media ‘witch-hunt’, Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel sets the record straight here: the means, the residences, the funds and the personnel of France’s institutions, he writes, do not belong to those elected representatives and members of government who are momentarily at the service of the state. By revealing the persistent lack of probity, Mediapart’s investigations are firmly in the public interest.

  • The inevitable tragedies as French government turns a blind eye to police violence

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    French President Emmanuel Macron with his interior minister Christophe Castaner. © Thibault Camus/Reuters French President Emmanuel Macron with his interior minister Christophe Castaner. © Thibault Camus/Reuters

    Over the course of recent months, the French government has continued to deny the mounting evidence of unwarranted violent behaviour by police, notably during the rolling ‘yellow vest’ protests when an 80-year-old woman died after being hit by a teargas grenade fired at her window and hundreds of people, both demonstrators and bystanders, have been injured, many seriously. Last month, a 24-year-old man went missing after he fell into the Loire river in Nantes, in north-west France, during a police charge on a group partying to music on a quayside. In this opinion article, Mediapart’s Michaël Hajdenberg argues why, by refusing to condemn the abuses and even lending legitimacy to them, the executive has created a dangerous situation in which further tragic events appear inevitable.

  • How the French Left can turn defeat into a way forward

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    Can the French Left find a new focus from behind the tatters of the campaign? © (dr) Can the French Left find a new focus from behind the tatters of the campaign? © (dr)

    The results of the European Parliament elections in France last month were an electoral disaster for the parties of the Left, which all trailed well behind the scores attained by the far-right and President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling LREM party. But, argues François Bonnet in this op-ed article, it was not all bad news for the Left, for amid the defeat came a clarification of where it lost its path and, with that, what it must now urgently focus upon to rebuild and claim back a place in the French political landscape.

  • Macron the destroyer of French industry

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    In the immediate aftermath of the European elections, in which the ruling centrists lost to Marine Le Pen's far-right party, the French government has had to deal with impending job losses at three major industrial sites. It is, argues Martine Orange, the outcome of a deliberate policy by President Emmanuel Macron: the massive and organised destruction of French industry. Mediapart's finance and business writer says that as a result France runs the risk of being trapped permanently in austerity and unable to forge an industrial future for itself.

  • An incendiary government

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    President Emmanuel Macron speaking to 600 mayors at Souillac in south-west France, January 18th 2019. © Reuters President Emmanuel Macron speaking to 600 mayors at Souillac in south-west France, January 18th 2019. © Reuters

    The fabricated claim that the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris was attacked by protestors during the traditional May Day demonstrations was a lie too far by a government that denies the reality of its own unpopularity, writes Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel. Its downward authoritarian spiral, he argues, is making it an accomplice in the destruction of democratic ethics.

  • First they came for Assange...

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    A demonstration in supporrt of Julian Assange held in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, on October 31st 2018. © Reuters A demonstration in supporrt of Julian Assange held in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, on October 31st 2018. © Reuters

    The fate of Julian Assange, just like that of Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden, represents a far bigger issue than that of him as an individual, writes Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this opinion article. Whatever Assange’s personal faults or mistakes, he argues, the move for his extradition to the US is about making an example of him to others because he had the audacity to challenge the powers that be with the weapon of the right to know.

  • French protests: the urgent need to ban use of maiming 'crowd control' weapons

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    A 'yellow vest' protestor lies injured in Paris, January 12th 2019. © Reuters A 'yellow vest' protestor lies injured in Paris, January 12th 2019. © Reuters

    France’s ‘yellow vest’ protestors were back on the streets this weekend, as their movement calling for better living standards for low- and middle-income earners held its tenth nationwide day of action. While some demonstrations have been marred by violence from extremist groups, there is mounting criticism of aggressive police tactics. These notably include the widespread and often indiscriminate use of rubber bullets and stun grenades that have caused, according to several estimations, around 100 serious and life-changing injuries to protestors and bystanders. Mediapart co-editor Carine Fouteau argues here why these highly dangerous weapons, which France is one of very few countries to deploy in such situations, should be immediately banned from crowd-control policing.

  • Carlos Ghosn: the contrast between severity in Japan and impunity in France

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    The case of the arrest and continued detention in Japan of Renault chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn over alleged financial misconduct has revealed the severity of the Japanese judicial system, which again denied him bail at a hearing in Tokyo this week. But it has also illustrated the situation of impunity granted in France to numerous high-placed individuals like Ghosn, writes Mediapart co-founder Laurent Mauduit in this opinion article. For while it now appears that the French government is finally moving towards his replacement as head of the French carmaker, economy and finance minister Bruno Le Maire has until now done his utmost to protect Ghosn, even declaring that there was ‘nothing in particular to report’ on his tax situation in France, when in fact the boss of one of France's biggest industrial corporations has been a tax resident in the Netherlands since 2012.

  • 'Yellow vests': government violence is stoking violence in the country

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    A work by artist Pascal Boyart, alias PBOY, in homage to the 'yellow vests', on the walls of Paris, January 7th 2019. © Reuters A work by artist Pascal Boyart, alias PBOY, in homage to the 'yellow vests', on the walls of Paris, January 7th 2019. © Reuters

    On Monday January 7th the French prime minster Édouard Philippe announced plans to boost the array of security powers at the state's disposal with, in particular, a new law against rioters and undeclared demonstrations, plus preventative targeting of protestors presumed to be violent. Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel points out that the prime minister did not utter a word about police violence, demonstrating that in making this repressive decision the government has turned its back on the sometimes vague democratic demands made by the 'yellow vest' protestors.