French press review 15 July 2017


The websites of the national dailies carry videos of the spectacular fireworks that lit the skies of Paris after a very special Bastille Day.

The event was celebrated in grand style with US President Donald Trump as special guest at the military parade featuring French and American troops marching down the Champs-Elysees and the traditional fly-past of French jets, followed by the US aerobatic team along with two F-22 stealth fighters.

In all 3,720 soldiers marked the centenary of the United States entry into World War I on France’s side.

But according to Le Parisien, the day belonged to President Emmanuel Macron who was presiding at his first Bastille Day.

The paper has the French leader’s day in pictures — visibly happy about his diplomatic coup of bringing Donald Trump over to Paris before any other European and beaming about the note of daft punk and the feel good spirit he brought to Bastille Day and to French politics.

Several regional publications praise President Macron for his extended hand to Donald Trump.

Les Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace describes the red carpet rolled out for the American leader as the first major indicator of his foreign policy.

According to the paper, Macron is positioning himself as mediator and a lifeline between Europe and the United States, and also keen on preventing the unpopular “tenant” in the White House from severing ties with the rest of the world.

Ouest-France agrees arguing that it would be a highly risky gamble to isolate the unpredictable Donald Trump.

Down on the French Riviera city of Nice where Bastille Day was tinged with mourning, a year on from a jihadist massacre that claimed 86 lives, the regional papers welcome Macron’s decision to lead the remembrance ceremonies there.

Le Journal de la Haute-Marne says the massive security operation around the ceremonies attended by more than 30,000 people, shows that the authorities have learnt their lesson. The Islamic State is says did not succeed in preventing the French people from observing its Republican ritual and lifestyle.

Le Figaro doesn’t believe President Macron is exhibiting the same sassy skills on the home front. This is as it continues to hammer on the unprecedented public clash with French army chief General Pierre de Villiers over cuts in the military budget amounting 850 million euros.

According to the paper, it was a grave error for Macron to rebuke the general in public and on the eve of Bastille Day after he openly threatened to resign over the budget cut as a time the army was involved in several operations abroad.

Le Figaro says there is no question in its mind that the President’s muscular remarks to the General were intended to humiliate him in front of his troops.

Le Courrier Picard also comes out in the General’s defence, arguing that Macron’s rash public reaction about the General’s grievances contrasts with the image of a well-cultured young man he had presented to the country since his inauguration.

The paper says that even if it confirms that Macron is a leader with guts the outburst will add to the litany of criticisms about the President’s communications strategy in which his aides, ministers and even lawmakers appear to driven by obligations of loyalty to the boss.

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