Opinions

  • The French credit rating: Moody's plays with fire and politics

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    This week international ratings agency Moody's raised the prospect of France losing its coveted triple-A credit rating and which is essential to efforts to calm the crisis in the euro zone. Martine Orange argues here that while the move by Moody's may have been predictable, the timing of the announcement has given the ratings agency a role in the forthcoming French presidential elections. Graver still, the blackmail it represents on the political debate is in danger of producing a catastrophic, irredeemable collapse of the European common currency.
  • Captain Sarkozy hits the iceberg

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    One after the other, President Nicolas Sarkozy's closest friends and aides, who for so long served as his political fireguards, have become implicated in a series of scandals and fast-developing judicial investigations. The alleged illegal political funding scam that has finally exploded with the revelations surrounding arms dealer Ziad Takieddine has already demolished the president's once solid network of protection. What has been happening this past month at the summit of French political power is historic, writes Mediapart editor François Bonnet, for never before has a French president been so exposed to being sunk by scandal and the revenge of abandoned protagonists.

  • French magazine censorship row opens up a bag of wartime horrors

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    A furious row has broken out at one of France's leading press groups, Prisma Presse, over the alleged censorship of an article detailing the unsavoury wartime collaborationist activities of several French businesses, notably Louis Vuitton, one of France's leading luxury goods firms. Representatives of Prisma's journalists, who claim the pages were censored for advertising reasons, say they will take the matter to the group's German owners, in a move that threatens to reopen yet more wounds from a clouded collaborationist past.Vincent Truffy reports.

  • Economic policy - between austerity and a Rocky Horror Show...

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    The Prime Minister François Fillon has just announced a series of new austerity measures to produce a further 12 billion euros in savings for the government in 2011 and 2012. This follows a downgrading in the forecast for economic growth for both years. The measures include a new reduction in the benefits afforded by a variety of tax breaks and a temporary 3% tax on those with massive incomes. But, argues Laurent Mauduit, the overall package is just another sign of the government's incoherent and crazy economic policy. And one which he says risks tipping France back into recession.

  • The arms dealer, the French presidency and the dirty truth

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    In July, Mediapart began the publication of a series of investigative articles about the very close and longstanding links between Franco-Lebanese arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and the inner circle of advisors and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy - before and after he became French president. Takieddine is a key witness in an ongoing French judicial probe into suspected illegal party financing through commissions paid in a major French weapons sale, and Mediapart's revelations raise disturbing questions about other deals he was involved in. In a brief interview with Mediapart in July, Takieddine declared: "I'm a clean man and you're dirty. You're one of the filthy who are most productive in the muck." Here, Mediapart Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel sets out the key issues exposed by the investigations, and argues why an unprecedented chain of corruption is strangling France's institutions.

  • Stock markets, easy money and a game now over

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    The fire sweeping international stock markets brings the danger of a massive recession closer, amid frantic efforts by governments and central banks in Europe and America to ease the crisis. But, argues Martine Orange, the world of finance is starring into an abyss, only too aware that it is ‘game over' on three decades of easy money, with the public purse now empty and incapable of mounting a rescue as it did in 2008.

  • The writing's on the wall for the election debate ahead

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    The French presidential elections are now less than a year away, and official campaigning will begin in earnest this autumn. A slightly tongue-in-cheek Antoine Perraud, proving that a journalist is never at rest even while travelling the Paris Metro, sees a message behind the station ads that points to the tone of the political debate ahead.

  • Libido dominandi

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    The prosecution of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, replete with a whopping litany of criminal charges, spotlights in the worst way - violence and worldwide voyeurism - what France has never been able to face squarely: the nation's connivance in what are conventionally blue-pencilled as the frasques, or ‘escapades', of its political personnel, writes Antoine Perraud.
  • Racism and sport, a sorry story of modern times

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    Mediapart's revelations about how officials at the French Football Federation planned to introduce an ethnic quota at its national training academies led to a huge controversy in France and abroad, the public excuses of those involved in the plan and led to two official enquiries. Above all, it sparked a wider debate about prejudice and discrimination in sport which, on an international level, only truly embraced multi-racialism in the final decade of the 20th century. Antoine Perraud charts how theories of racial supremacy have long poisoned sport which, he argues here, has become a supplementary vehicle for racist ideologies, beginning with those of the founder of the modern Olympic games, Pierre de Coubertin.

  • How Total escaped tax on 10 bln euros in profit

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     © Reuters © Reuters

    French oil giant Total paid zero euros in corporate tax in France in 2010 despite posting a profit of more than 10 billion euros. It is one among France’s five most profitable companies which enjoy a generous corporate tax break cutting millions of euros from their fiscal bills. The French government meanwhile appears to be in no hurry to close the loophole. Martine Orange reports.