French press review 23 October 2017


The Catalonian question continues to dominate the reflections of the commentators here in France.

This, as Catalan parties prepared to hold a crisis meeting this Monday to prepare their response to last Saturday’s decision by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to remove Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his executive.

Rajoy also announced Madrid’s decision to transfer the control of ministries to Madrid as part of unprecedented measures to stop the break-away of the Spanish region.

Le Parisien quotes the Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull as saying that the measures constituted nothing less than “a fully-fledged coup against Catalan institutions”.

L’Humanité warns that the encouragement of ‘survival of the fittest’ policies between peoples and territories has ended up aggravating nationalistic drifts and “sovereignist” tendencies in Europe.

According to the Communist daily, this is evident in the Italian regions of Lombardy and Venetia where citizens voted in a referendum on Sunday on the extension of their autonomy within a planned introduction of a federation in Italy.

La Montagne/Centre France says it had expected the EU to get a little more involved in the Catalan crisis even if it understands the so-called unquestionable European solidarity towards Spain.

But as the paper points out, negotiationq aren’t about backing down but about easing tensions.

It warns that because of the absence of a mediation Madrid and Barcelona are probably heading towards early regional elections laden with the risk of further radicalization from the ballot box in case of victory for the independence movement.

According to Le Journal de la Haute-Marne, its looks increasingly obvious that hardline autonomists are luring the Spanish government into the trap of occupying Catalonia, so as to incite the anger of the population against Madrid.

La Croix makes a late appearance in the furious debate about sexual harassment and the freeing of speech after the uproar over Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment of several Hollywood actresses.

According to the Catholic daily, the testimonies of women coming forward, have exposed the hidden face of the of the film industry.

La Croix says in the wake of such a cultural battle, it is imperative for governments to support the judicial battle waged by these women but to also mount an awareness campaign in the film industry to fight impunity.

La Voix du Nord holds that with the freeing of women’s speech about the order which allowed men to abuse their positions needs to be continued without fear, on social media not just about women telling all about their past.

But it also insists on a role for the great number of men, who have heeded their call and stretched out their hand in support of the women’s cause.

The paper says there is a hard road to travel so that after the catharsis there will be no relenting in denouncing current forms of sexual harassment against women.

Libération‘s editorial this Monday is about news which it claims will be embarrassing to many — thesuccessful removal and relocation of migrants from the Calais jungle in northern France.

The paper reports that one year after police stormed the border region to evict migrants trying to reach the United Kingdom the jungle remains an inaccessible no go area, thanks to an administrative and security mechanism put in place.

According to Libé, while the authorities are bound to brandish the Calais jungle as a victory, it is triumph with a sour taste. For the paper it won’t change the essential message delivered through last year’s Calais operation, that a policy of controlled hospitality is always better that the policy of unfriendly reception at the border area.

Europe and the challenge posed by the so-called detached workers land on Le Figaro‘s front page story Monday. This, as EU labour ministers gather in Luxembourg today to set stricter rules for temporary contracts handed to Europeans working in other EU countries.

The paper says that that over the past few years, France took the bull by the horns and hardened its judicial arsenal to deal with mounting fraud.  According to Le Figaro, the number of detached worker in France which stood at an estimated 286,000 in 2015 increases at a rate of 25 percent every year.

The right-wing publication argues that it is such a drift and the ensuing rise of Euroscepticism which have enabled populist parties in Germany; and the Czech Republic to boost their credibility.

Le Figaro warns that it is imperative resolve the issue before the next European elections scheduled in 2019 otherwise the gap between the people of Europe and Brussels will keep widening.

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