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French Press Review - April 8th


Mohamed Zerari

Mon, 08 Apr 2019 11:21 GMT

The great debate: After two months of consultation, the time for conclusion has arrived

Following mass protests in the French capital, President Emmanuel Macron came up with a seemingly logical solution, which was to have a nationwide debate, wrote Le Monde.

After more than two months of consultation and hundreds of thousands of citizen proposals, sometimes contradictory, the French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, has drawn up a balance sheet of the great debate launched as a result of the "Yellow Vests" crisis. Nearly half of the government, citizens, representatives of associations and social partners, mayors and a hundred directors of administration gathered on April 8th under the glass roof of the Grand Palais in Paris. The result of the survey, known as "OpinionWay", were revealed followed by a speech by the Prime Minister.

More than 1.5 million people participated directly in official counts, one-third through the dedicated site, one-third in the 10,000 or so local meetings and one-third in the 16,000 notebooks or by free mail. In his letter to the French population in mid-January President Macron addressed issues including ecology, taxes, public services, democracy and added others that had spontaneously emerged in the debate, such as health, pensions or addiction. Other subjects, such as immigration, have not been discussed.  

Nissan shareholders dismiss Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn's story made headlines worldwide and Le Figaro newspaper shed light on Nissan shareholders, after they met in Tokyo on April 8th and voted to dismiss Ghosn, who had been sacked from the board of Directors following his initial arrest in November last year. The general meeting also ratified the election of Renault President, Jean-Dominique Senard, as a member of the Board of Directors. He said he was "very honoured".

Ghosn, the former CEO of Renault-Nissan, already facing three charges for concealment of income and abuse of corporate assets, is now also subject to prosecution over questionable remittances.

Macron marks April 7th a "commemoration day"genocide in Rwanda

After the establishment of a commission of historians and researchers to acknowledge the gruesome genocide in Rwanda, in a statement issued by the Elysee Palace, President Macron announced he would make April 7th, "a day of commemoration of the genocide of Tutsis," writes Le Parisien. Twenty-five years after the genocide in Rwanda, "at least 800,000 people died in three months, from April to July 1994," it said.

On April 5th President Macron received representatives of Ibuka France at the presidential palace. Ibuka is a support association for victims and survivors of the genocide. Macron also announced the establishment of a commission of historians and researchers to shed light on France's role in this tragedy.  

Taxation: Yellow Vests demand a revolution

The French government is currently trying to deal with tax issues raised by social protest movements for greater justice in terms of taxes, writes Liberation. It is, "the mother of all battles," according to the general secretary of the CFDT (French Democratic Confederation of Labour), Laurent Berger, who was already demanding "a vast tax reform" in early December in response to the anger of the "Yellow Vests" protest. Born of the challenge posed by the government raising the carbon tax, the movement was initially perceived as a sign of erosion of confidence in the taxation system. The initial protests at the roundabouts of the French road system, including the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, led to greater demands for more tax justice, a call to which the government is expected provide answers in the next few days.

"Too many taxes" was a common message in the early demonstrations, echoing demands for reduced taxes to increase purchasing power, However, more paradoxically, there is also increasing demand for the development of public services. It is difficult, therefore, to see a simple rejection of the tax, according to Liberation.