Opinions

  • The wealth gap in France, the need for fiscal reform, and the hypocrisy of David Cameron

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    A study just published by the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) reveals that the richest 20% of households in France own 71% of all household wealth. Mediapart finance and economics correspondent Laurent Mauduit argues here why that and other telling statistics from the study highlight the urgency of the new French socialist government’s fiscal reform plans, and shine a harsh light on the hypocritical attack launched against them by British PM David Cameron.

  • For whom the bell tolls amid the crisis in Greece

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    The common future of Europe’s peoples is being played out in Greece - not only the future of our economies, but also that of our democratic institutions, writes Mediapart Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel. He argues here why the Greeks are not responsible for a crisis produced by Europe's blind leaders, who abandoned political vision to serve the interests of the world of finance, and why the crucial parliamentary elections to be held in Greece on June 17th offer an audacious alternative to the prevailing dogma that is sending us all towards catastrophe.

  • Love wins, audacity fails at Cannes film festival

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    Jean-Louis Trintignant. Jean-Louis Trintignant.

    Michael Haneke’s film Amour (Love), starring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva (right), took the top Palme d’Or prize at this year’s Cannes film festival awards ceremony held on Sunday. Emmanuel Burdeau, former editor  of the French cinema magazine Les Cahiers du Cinéma who has been following the 12-day festival for Mediapart, reviews this year’s award-winners and argues why jury president Nanni Moretti ended up eating his own words.  

  • The cloud of Pétain rains on Sarkozy's May Day counter-parade

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    The April 22nd first round of the French presidential elections left incumbent candidate Nicolas Sarkozy in a close second-place behind the Socialist Party’s François Hollande. In his campaigning before the final play-off between the two on May 6th, Sarkozy has caused controversy and dismay over his overt attempts to capture the electorate of the far-right Front National party, whose candidate Marine Le Pen scored almost 18% in the first round poll. While the outgoing president has placed immigration issues to the fore, he also announced plans to organise a rally in Paris on May 1st to honour what he deems to be "real labour", as a counter-demonstration against the traditional trades union-organised May Day parade. Mediapart economic and social affairs correspondent Laurent Mauduit argues here why the initiative is an outrageous throwback to the WWII collaborationist Vichy government of German-occupied France, whose leader, Marshal Philippe Pétain, attempted to transform this day of international workers’ solidarity into a day in honour of so-called "labour and social harmony".

  • A story of France

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    The initial information about Toulouse killer Mohamed Merah suggests that his is a story of modern France. While the Presidency and certain media commentators would like to stop all debate about what this event means for our society, the precise opposite is true. Like the earlier case of Algerian-born Khaled Kelkal, who was shot dead by gendarmes in 1995 after being implicated in a wave of bomb attacks in France, the story of Mohamed Merah holds up a mirror to society. And, says Mediapart editor François Bonnet, it raises vital questions for presidential candidates who seek to provide an alternative to the current presidency.

  • Why Nicolas Sarkozy will lose the presidential election

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    Everything is now set in place for Nicolas Sarkozy to lose the 2012 presidential elections, argues Mediapart editor François Bonnet, who says his performance on French television this week confirmed the picture presented since the president finally announced his re-election bid in early February. Just like outgoing French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in 1981, he will fail to be re-elected, and essentially for two reasons.

  • France loses an 'A' but gains a true election debate

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    Le 9 décembre. © Elysée.fr Le 9 décembre. © Elysée.fr

    Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s announced Friday that it had downgraded France’s triple-A credit rating to AA+. Mediapart editor François Bonnet argues here that the downgrade has stripped bare President Nicolas Sarkozy’s attempts, as he prepares to announce his candidature for re-election in April, to hide the amplitude of the economic crisis and his own failures in Europe and at home.

  • The urgent message of this austerity-fuelled recession

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    Like the rest of the eurozone countries, France is entering a recession, according to the latest quarterly report released this month by the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE). Mediapart co-founder Laurent Mauduit argues here why the INSEE report is both an indictment of President Nicolas Sarkozy's economic policies and a warning for the Left opposition, ahead of next year's presidential elections, that austerity measures do nothing but fuel the crisis.

  • De Gaulle's vision of Europe, relayed by Fischer, lies slaughtered by sharks

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    Amid the spectre of the euro collapsing as the debt crisis deepens, the words of General Charles de Gaulle, one of the original protagonists of pan-European cooperation, have a prophetic ring. "Do we, or do we not, want the Common Market to be supplemented by a political organisation without which economic construction will ultimately decline?" he asked in 1962. Antoine Perraud argues that it is time to rediscover de Gaulle's vision of a Europe united by political action and not finance, a vision that was paradoxically later championed not by the General's so-called political heirs in France, but by German Green Joschka Fischer.

  • The spiral of speculation and austerity spinning France towards 5 million unemployed

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    France "may have entered a short, shallow recession", announced the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Monday, the smae day when the latest official French unemployment figures were also released revealing the total number of jobless of all categories had reached 4.8 million for the first time since 1999. Mediapart co-founder Laurent Mauduit argues that this sad state of affairs is the result of economic policies that feed speculation rather than fight it, part of a vicious circle that sees the multiplication of austerity measures that are strangling the economy, worsening rather than improving public deficits, and which have already created an exceptional level of social misery.