Political bitterness (at home and abroad) and disenchantment with the system are all over the French press this week. Get the gist with our summaries below and find out what’s in the journaux this week all deciphered en anglais.
The Moroccan Connection
Morocco and France — two countries that typically enjoy a solid relationship — are apparently having something of a tiff. Morocco suspended judicial cooperation with France this week, and RFI says it all started when French police tried to question the Moroccan director of counter-terrorism at the Moroccan embassy. Morocco – a state that’s been accused of human rights abuses by various groups – says the questioning was a violation of their national sovereignty.
Things have apparently gotten so bad that even President Hollande – a man who may have juggled up to three love affairs in fewer than two presidential terms – could not smooth things over completely with a call to the king of Morocco. Regardless, RFI seems unconcerned, saying that the countries would work it out – it’s just a matter of where and when.
What’s French for House of Cards?
Interior Minister Manuel Valls (a member of the Socialist Party, for those who weren’t keeping track) has provoked a boycott of the National Assembly. Did he leak a major document? Murder a rival? Mais non! What set this legislative firestorm ablaze was Valls describing a UMP member of the National Assembly, Claude Goasguen, as being far right. The UMP is apparently so disgusted that they are boycotting the National Assembly. Manuel Valls (perhaps channeling Frank Underwood?) says he has done nothing worth apologizing for.
This situation is not without precedent: in 2009 the Socialist Party boycotted the National Assembly. Le Nouvel Observateur covers the event with a listicle and an interview with Senator Catherine Génisson, formerly the Vice-President of the National Assembly, who contrasts this event with the great boycott of ’09. If they ever do make a Maison des Cartes, one can only hope it will be more exciting than this.
For Those Who Think Young
Young French people are not exactly seeing la vie en rose these days. About a quarter of them are unemployed, and they’re unhappy about it according to an exhaustive study commissioned by France 2 that compiled survey results from 21 million people – nearly a third of the entire population of France. Le Monde reports that the study focused on adults between the ages of 18 and 34 and showed dissatisfaction with politics (46 percent of respondents said that they weren’t confident in politicians), school (61 percent said the French education system didn’t reward merit), and French society in general (three-quarters of respondents said they’d move abroad if they had the chance). When asked how they would describe their generation, respondents used the words “lost”, “sacrificed” and “disenchanted.”
Le Monde wondered what this would mean for politics, suggesting that this unhappiness could lead to another May 1968, a period of time when young people revolted to change the political system. In Le Figaro, Author Aymeric Patricot critiqued the “elites” for ignoring French young people on the margins of society. Meanwhile, RFI interviewed sociologist Michel Fize, who drew parallels to 1994 – a previous economic crisis – and the twenty-something generation at that time.