Opinions

  • 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.

  • Why this war on Gaddafi is a trap

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     © Reuters © Reuters

    The civil war in Libya continues as the NATO-led military campaign against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces still fails to break the deadlock. France, the US, and UK have said a change of regime is not their goal, but also that they will not stop bombing until Gaddafi has gone. Meanwhile, NATO foreign ministers failed on Friday to agree for a call for more strike planes to assist the operation.

    Mediapart Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel argues here why military intervention was a misconceived campaign, a dupery led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy primarily for internal political considerations.

  • The political vacuum behind the rise of the French far-right

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    An opinion poll published last weekend in France placed far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen ahead of incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and other mainstream rivals in next year's presidential election first round vote. Here, Laurent Mauduit argues that the resurgence of the National Front is in large part due to the failure of the French opposition left parties to recognise and address the causes of a deep social malaise in the country.
  • Tunisian crisis exposes misery behind IMF 'model'

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    Tunis lawyers © D.R. Tunis lawyers © D.R.

    Tunisia is witnessing the largest and most violent popular protest movement since President Ben Ali came to power 23 years ago. Thousands of Tunisian lawyers staged a national strike and demonstrations (photo) on January 6th, joining the revolts born from high youth unemployment, soaring inflation, and widespread corruption and human rights violations.