Opinions

  • The political emptiness of French economy minister Emmanuel Macron

    By

    French economy minister Emmanuel Macron on Friday handed veteran far-right politician Philippe de Villiers a public return to legitimacy, paying visit to the latter's money-spinning theme park and praising him as a"cultural entrepreneur". Amid the high-profile visit, the socialist government minister also proclaimed that "I am not socialist". Ahead of an expected bid for the presidency in elections due next May, Macron now regularly stars as the cover story for French weekly Paris-Match, in what appears almost a mirror image of the magazine's coverage dedicated last year to Nicolas Sarkozy. Here, Mediapart editor François Bonnet argues that Macron's political manoeuvring is nothing but an empty vase, and made possible only by the weakness of a used-up government approaching its final bow.

  • After Nice, how the French Right fell headfirst into a terrorist trap

    By

    Since the Bastille Day massacre in Nice last week, in which 84 people died, never has the French mainstream Right employed so much energy into mimicking its far-right rival, the Front National, writes Mediapart political correspondent Hubert Huertas, who argues that the attack in Nice is in the process of fragilising French democracy, which is exactly what the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility, hopes for.

  • The duty to protest

    By

    Last week the French authorities banned a planned march in Paris by trade unions opposed to labour law reforms, before eventually backing down partially and allowing a more limited demonstration. Here Mediapart's editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel argues that demonstrating is a constitutional right and that, by banning the march that the trade unions wanted, the government violated the fundamental law that guarantees all our freedoms. It is, he writes, our duty to resist this unlawful act in order to defend our common ideal: democracy.

  • Why local airport referendum matters for all of France

    By
    Voting in the airport referendum in western France. © Yann Levy Voting in the airport referendum in western France. © Yann Levy

    While all of Europe, including France, has been focussed on the shock result of the Brexit vote, a more local referendum campaign has been taking place in western France. On Sunday June 26th nearly a million voters in the Loire-Atlantique département or county were asked for their verdict on plans for a new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes near Nantes. The referendum itself, whose outcome the government says it will respect and which has been criticised for its many shortcomings, was won by suporters of the scheme. But Mediapart's environment correspondent Jade Lindgaard argues that the issues at stake go beyond the local airport project: and that they affect everyone in France and beyond.

  • Brexit, a welcome catastrophe

    By
    A London taxi driver celebrates the Brexit victory. © Reuters A London taxi driver celebrates the Brexit victory. © Reuters

    The British 'no' vote in the referendum on the European Union marks the victory of the extreme right, represented by the repugnant Nigel Farage and his UKIP party. In that sense it is a tragedy. But this 'no' vote also signs the death warrant of a European Union that has turned away from its citizens. Now the whole European project needs to be rebuilt and Mediapart's editor François Bonnet wonders whether that isn't good news...

  • The French government’s intolerable snub to democracy

    By

    Democracy belongs to neither the Left nor the Right, and when it is flouted by governments of either political side every democrat worthy of the name must simply say “no”, argues Mediapart editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel following the socialist government’s decision to force through parliament, without a vote, its controversial labour law reforms which, he writes in this op-ed, represent a social regression for every employee in France.

  • How Renault boss Carlos Ghosn ran over shareholders

    By

    Last Friday, the board of French carmaker Renault insisted it would pay chief executive Carlos Ghosn a package of 7.2 million euros for his services in 2015, despite a revolt by shareholders who disapproved of the deal which economy minister Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday denounced as “excessive”. In this opinion article, Mediapart’s economic affairs correspondent Martine Orange argues that Ghosn, who is also paid a yearly 8 million euros as head of Nissan, is typical of a new caste of cynical oligarchs who are unaccountable to anyone, even to the very shareholders who first launched them on a path of greed.

  • The triple menace of Hollande's reform of the French constitution

    By

    French MPs this week voted in favour of the government’s proposed reforms of France’s constitution, which include enshrining into fundamental law state of emergency powers and the stripping of French nationality from convicted terrorists. The highly controversial bill will next month be debated by the Senate, and must finally be presented to an extraordinary ‘Congress’ meeting of both houses. Mediapart editor François Bonnet argues here that the proposed reform of the constitution carries a triple menace that threatens the heart of French democracy, the future of the socialist party, and also President François Hollande's ambition to gain a second term of office.

  • French MPs' absence in key debate is parliament's weakness

    By

    At the end of four days of debates, French MPs on Wednesday voted in favour of the socialist government’s package of proposed amendments to the country’s constitution, which include stripping French nationality from convicted terrorists and giving temporary state of emergency powers a permanent legal basis. The measures are highly controversial and have opened deep divisions both on the Left and Right, yet when the crucial voting of the reforms began on Monday, just 136 MPs out of a total 577 were present. Mediapart political affairs commentator Hubert Huertas argues here that the decried absenteeism reveals above all an inherent weakness of the French parliamentary system.

  • How plan to remove French nationality has become a farce

    By
    Caught in their own trap? President François Hollande and prime minister Manuel Valls. Caught in their own trap? President François Hollande and prime minister Manuel Valls.

    On Friday February 5th, 2016, the National Assembly began debating plans to alter the French Constitution, including adding the power to strip convicted terrorists of their French nationality. It was supposed to be President François Hollande's grand response to the Paris terror attacks of 2015. Instead, amid general confusion, the government has become bogged down and endlessly changed its mind over the issue. To the point, argues Mediapart's Mathieu Magnaudeix, where the entire affair has become a national farce.