Opinions

  • The Bettencourt affair censored by the court of Versailles

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    The court of appeal at Versailles has ordered Mediapart to remove all quotes from the recordings whose publication transformed the Bettencourt affair into a major public scandal. Three years after Mediapart first revealed the content of these tapes, this decision is more than just an attack on the freedom of information, says editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel: it is an act of censorship.

  • This French elite on a merry-go-round of fat-cat jobs

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    The nominations last weekend of Anne Lauvergeon and Jean-Claude Trichet as France’s representatives on the re-vamped board of European aerospace and defence group EADS was anything but a surprise, argues Mediapart’s finance and economy specialist Martine Orange. Both are from an elite composed of graduates of France’s grandes écoles and former senior civil servants who are on a life-long merry-go-round of top jobs and fat salaries, and whose purportedly immeasurable talents have overseen the break-up and bankruptcy of the French economy.

  • Don't mention 'the war': the semantic battle of the French campaign in Mali

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    The French ‘military intervention’ that began in Mali on January 11th is also a war of words in which the socialist government has adopted semantics akin to neo-conservative rhetoric, argues Mediapart political correspondent Stéphane Alliès, who presents here some choice examples of ministerial sleight of tongue.

  • The verity of austerity as 2013 French economic outlook study points to grim year ahead

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    The French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, INSEE, last week published its economic forecast for the first half of 2013, predicting France will remain on the edge of recession with zero growth, ever-rising unemployment, a collapse of purchasing power and consumption in tatters. Mediapart's economics and finance specialist Laurent Mauduit argues here that the INSEE study provides a damning appraisal of the French socialist government’s austerity policies and its obedience to the fiscal compact.

  • Why 'bailout' of French cheap mortgage lender CIF was another gift to big banks

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    Last weekend, the French government announced it had agreed to issue a state guarantee for Crédit Immobilier de France, a major cooperative-owned mortgage lender for low-income households. The bank ran into severe liquidity problems because of its structural dependence on what was cheap financing from the credit market. The new soicialist government’s move was widely portrayed as a rescue of the troubled mortgage lender. But nothing could be further from the truth, argues Mediapart’s economics and finance correspondent Philippe Riès. CIF is to be run down, with serious consequences for jobs and modest house-buyers, while the real winners of the guarantee are the big banks. For they have escaped helping in a bailout and are now sure their loans to CIF will be repaid.

  • The vital debate Europe's elites have confiscated from its peoples

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    France’s Constitutional Council this month ruled that the country’s adoption of the European Union Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSCG), which commits governments to strict deficit limits and, by consequence, severe austerity measures, with harsh penalties for those who transgress, requires no reform to the constitution, and therefore no public consultation through a referendum. The fiscal pact, agreed in March and which socialist President François Hollande initially pledged during his election campaign to renegotiate, is now certain to be ratified by the country’s socialist-dominated parliament. Here, Mediapart Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel argues that the move is nothing short of a silent Coup d’Etat imposed by a political elite through flagrant abuse of the democratic process. Europe, he says, desperately needs a thorough debate and public consultation over the policies that are driving nations into a brick wall.

  • 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".