Tag Archives: French news

Before the Vote

26 Apr

Right of asylum, immigration quotas, border controls.. a deep fracture has emerged between the candidates.

It’s a record in French history: France has recorded 85, 700 requests for asylum in 2016. Even if it’s small in relation to its neighbours Italy (121, 200) and Germany (722, 300), this influx of migrants, because of the war in Syria and historic conflicts or humanitarian situations (the Sudan, Afghanistan, Haiti), have forced the question of the welcome that France can or should reserve at the centre of the presidential campaign.

But if the questions about borders, integration or identity have gained an important place in the campaign, the responses that the candidates have raised in their programmes are sparse (a hundred proposals to more than three thousand in total) and very polarised. A France open or closed, here are the main promises of the 11 candidates for the presidential election.

Borders in and around Europe

According to the Schengen agreement, all citizens can move freely within the eponymous zone (26 states of which 22 are part of the European Union). And on the exterior, the agency Frontex tries to maintain surveillance faced with the influx of migrants.

The borders question is typically an embarrassing one for candidates, outside the extreme right, faced simultaneously with the humanitarian crisis of the migrants, but also by the high-stakes surveillance of terrorist movements.

On the extreme right, the positions have the merit of clarity: Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and Marine Le Pen think that control of immigration is no longer secured by Frontex and that they should exit Schengen to take back national borders, which would consequently be reinforced. They believe therefore six thousand customs posts should also be reinstated, according to the Front National candidate, which demands also the recall of the reservists.

Calling for a double layer of borders, Francois Fillon says he is in favour of staying in Schengen (and in tripling the budget of Frontex), but also to the “temporary reintroduction of controls on the interior borders” (an operation in reality already in place since the events of November 2015).

In opposition, there are those who think the actual borders of Schengen are already sufficient: Benoit Hamon, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Melenchon. But with certain nuances since Emmanuel Macron wanted to increase the powers of border guards and outposts in Europe, while Jean-Luc Melenchon wanted what he termed the “militarisation of the politics of controlling migration flows.”

The extreme left believes to want to abolish all borders, both on the interior and exterior of the European Union – say Nathalie Arthaud and Philippe Poutou, in a spirit which is “internationalist” and “in solidarity”.

 

The Right to Asylum

In the face of crowds of migrants, the practical application of the right to asylum, a principle enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution, is a question of debate among the political class. It is anyway on this question that ghost of the candidates’ previous promises looms largest: where Nathalie Arthaud and Philippe Poutou supported regularising all the sans-papiers, Marine Le Pen and Nicolas Dupon-Aignan want, in contrast, to make the conditions of asylum harder. The candidate from Debout la France is proposing a dozen measures to allocate a residence to asylum-seekers. The Front National candidate, le Pen, insists on the necessity of “making it impossible to regularise or naturalise foreigners in an illegal situation.”

Between these two opposing poles, two candidates declare they favour welcoming asylum-seekers, notably in instituting a humanitarian visa (Benoit Hamon) and in constructing welcome camps along international norms (Jean-Luc Melenchon). Three other candidates want to shorten the delay in the administrative response (Emmanuel Macron, Jacques Cheminade and Francois Fillon). It is therefore on the specific public services the refugees can access on which the majority of candidates have made promises.

 

On Quotas

In 2016, around 227 500 foreigners gained their first right to stay in France, an increase of 4.6% in relation to 2015. A rise which lies principally in admissions for humanitarian reasons. These permissions were not limited by quotas; France has never applied such a limitation, in contrast to the US for example. A majority of candidates are not in favour ( Nathalie Arthaud, Jacques Cheminade, Benoit Hamon, Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Luc Melenchon and Philippe Poutou).

Among them those who have no fixed position: Jean Lassalle and Francois Asselineau. This last is content to propose a referendum on the whole group of questions lying in various degrees in relation to the volumes of migrants – quotas, familial regroupment, right to own land…

Three candidates are in support of quotas. The most extreme position is, with no surprise, that of Marine Le Pen, who recommends “reducing legal immigration to an annual cap of 10 thousand (persons).” She is following on the platform of Francois Fillon, who wanted to inscribe it in the Constitution, and of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who wants “to vote annually in Parliament an immigration ceiling” related to the unemployment rate.

In 2006, Nicolas Sarkozy had already fostered support for establishing quotas, but this ambition faced opposition, risking the censure of the constitutional council, and was adjourned.

 

The Right of Soil

The right of earth consists of conferring French nationality on children born in France More precisely, a child born in France of foreign parents becomes automatically French on their 18th year, if they are in our country and have been more than five years; this has been true since 1515. Certain candidates propose to limit this opportunity (Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Francois Fillon), or aim to remove it (Marine Le Pen).

For the Front National, this represents making a kind of “acquisition of French nationality (is) possible just through filiation or naturalisation, for which the conditions are elsewhere more demanding”… that which can in many more complex cases, looks impossible. Not only for the French whose ancestors came from abroad several generations ago, but also for a number of other cases – pieds-noirs, those from Alsace, whose families were German at the beginning of the last century…

On the other side, Jacques Cheminade, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Melenchon want to preserve the right of soil. Four candidates have no position on this prickly subject: Nathalie Arthaud, Benoit Hamon, Jean Lassale and Philippe Poutou.

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Before the Vote: What the Candidates are Proposing on the Subject of Immigration

21 Apr

translated from:

http://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2017/04/20/avantlevote-ce-que-proposent-les-candidats-en-matiere-d-immigration_5114035_4355770.html

Right of asylum, immigration quotas, border controls.. a deep fracture has emerged between the candidates.

It’s a record in French history: France has recorded 85, 700 requests for asylum in 2016. Even if it’s small in relation to its neighbours Italy (121, 200) and Germany (722, 300), this influx of migrants, because of the war in Syria and historic conflicts or humanitarian situations (the Sudan, Afghanistan, Haiti), have forced the question of the welcome that France can or should reserve at the centre of the presidential campaign.

But if the questions about borders, integration or identity have gained an important place in the campaign, the responses that the candidates have raised in their programmes are sparse (a hundred proposals to more than three thousand in total) and very polarised. A France open or closed, here are the main promises of the 11 candidates for the presidential election.

Borders in and around Europe

According to the Schengen agreement, all citizens can move freely within the eponymous zone (26 states of which 22 are part of the European Union). And on the exterior, the agency Frontex tries to maintain surveillance faced with the influx of migrants.

The borders question is typically an embarrassing one for candidates, outside the extreme right, faced simultaneously with the humanitarian crisis of the migrants, but also by the high-stakes surveillance of terrorist movements.

On the extreme right, the positions have the merit of clarity: Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and Marine Le Pen think that control of immigration is no longer secured by Frontex and that they should exit Schengen to take back national borders, which would consequently be reinforced. They believe therefore six thousand customs posts should also be reinstated, according to the Front National candidate, which demands also the recall of the reservists.

Calling for a double layer of borders, Francois Fillon says he is in favour of staying in Schengen (and in tripling the budget of Frontex), but also to the “temporary reintroduction of controls on the interior borders” (an operation in reality already in place since the events of November 2015).

In opposition, there are those who think the actual borders of Schengen are already sufficient: Benoit Hamon, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Melenchon. But with certain nuances since Emmanuel Macron wanted to increase the powers of border guards and outposts in Europe, while Jean-Luc Melenchon wanted what he termed the “militarisation of the politics of controlling migration flows.”

The extreme left believes to want to abolish all borders, both on the interior and exterior of the European Union – say Nathalie Arthaud and Philippe Poutou, in a spirit which is “internationalist” and “in solidarity”.

 

The Right to Asylum

In the face of crowds of migrants, the practical application of the right to asylum, a principle enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution, is a question of debate among the political class. It is anyway on this question that ghost of the candidates’ previous promises looms largest: where Nathalie Arthaud and Philippe Poutou supported regularising all the sans-papiers, Marine Le Pen and Nicolas Dupon-Aignan want, in contrast, to make the conditions of asylum harder. The candidate from Debout la France is proposing a dozen measures to allocate a residence to asylum-seekers. The Front National candidate, le Pen, insists on the necessity of “making it impossible to regularise or naturalise foreigners in an illegal situation.”

Between these two opposing poles, two candidates declare they favour welcoming asylum-seekers, notably in instituting a humanitarian visa (Benoit Hamon) and in constructing welcome camps along international norms (Jean-Luc Melenchon). Three other candidates want to shorten the delay in the administrative response (Emmanuel Macron, Jacques Cheminade and Francois Fillon). It is therefore on the specific public services the refugees can access on which the majority of candidates have made promises.

 

On Quotas

In 2016, around 227 500 foreigners gained their first right to stay in France, an increase of 4.6% in relation to 2015. A rise which lies principally in admissions for humanitarian reasons. These permissions were not limited by quotas; France has never applied such a limitation, in contrast to the US for example. A majority of candidates are not in favour ( Nathalie Arthaud, Jacques Cheminade, Benoit Hamon, Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Luc Melenchon and Philippe Poutou).

Among them those who have no fixed position: Jean Lassalle and Francois Asselineau. This last is content to propose a referendum on the whole group of questions lying in various degrees in relation to the volumes of migrants – quotas, familial regroupment, right to own land…

Three candidates are in support of quotas. The most extreme position is, with no surprise, that of Marine Le Pen, who recommends “reducing legal immigration to an annual cap of 10 thousand (persons).” She is following on the platform of Francois Fillon, who wanted to inscribe it in the Constitution, and of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who wants “to vote annually in Parliament an immigration ceiling” related to the unemployment rate.

In 2006, Nicolas Sarkozy had already fostered support for establishing quotas, but this ambition faced opposition, risking the censure of the constitutional council, and was adjourned.

 

The Right of Soil

The right of earth consists of conferring French nationality on children born in France More precisely, a child born in France of foreign parents becomes automatically French on their 18th year, if they are in our country and have been more than five years; this has been true since 1515. Certain candidates propose to limit this opportunity (Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Francois Fillon), or aim to remove it (Marine Le Pen).

For the Front National, this represents making a kind of “acquisition of French nationality (is) possible just through filiation or naturalisation, for which the conditions are elsewhere more demanding”… that which can in many more complex cases, looks impossible. Not only for the French whose ancestors came from abroad several generations ago, but also for a number of other cases – pieds-noirs, those from Alsace, whose families were German at the beginning of the last century…

On the other side, Jacques Cheminade, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Melenchon want to preserve the right of soil. Four candidates have no position on this prickly subject: Nathalie Arthaud, Benoit Hamon, Jean Lassale and Philippe Poutou.

The French Justice Department demands lifting of the immunity of Marine Le Pen at the European Parliament

14 Apr

translated from http://www.lemonde.fr/election-presidentielle-2017/article/2017/04/14/la-justice-francaise-a-demande-au-parlement-europeen-la-levee-de-l-immunite-de-marine-le-pen_5111132_4854003.html

The French justice department has demanded that the European Parliament lifts the parliamentary immunity of Marine Le Pen and of Marie-Christine Boutonnet, targets of an enquiry into suspected fictional employment of parliamentary assistants by the Front National (FN), Agence France-Presse (AFP) learned on Friday 14th April from a judiciary source.

The judges at the preliminary hearing addressed their demands to lift the parliamentary immunity of the FN European delegates on 29 and 30 March, specified this source, confirming the information relayed by Europe 1. These demands have been issued from the Paris Bench to the Bench General**, which transfers it, according to the procedure, to the chancellery before being sent to the European Parliament.

The extreme-right candidate in the presidential election has retreated behind her parliamentary immunity in order to block the judges’ summons issued in February and in March. She promises to attend the judiciary hearing after the electoral period. Marie-Christine Boutonnet has not responded to the summons of the ‘financial’ judges at the beginning of March.

 

Vote in an open session

The demand to lift the immunity that the French justice? Has addressed to the European Parliament is ‘standard procedure’, Marine Le Pen said on Friday.

Examining this demand to lift their immunity could take several months as it needs to be the subject of a vote in open session of the European Parliament. A debate would therefore happen in session, on the issue of which each European Deputy would be called to place an individual vote.

“The European deputy will keep their seat, but they will lose their immunity,” it is explained on the website of the European Parliament, reporting that the revocation of immunity is not a punishment but that “it simply authorises a national authority to investigate and pursue an inquiry.

“The preliminary hearing judges do not expect they will be successful before the presidential election,” France Inter stated with assurance.

The preliminary hearing judges are not able to compel a European Deputy to stand before them like anyone else who is answerable to judiciary authority. For each coercive measure, they have to first achieve the lifting of the immunity granted by the European Parliament. This was the same issue in another case presided over by the preliminary hearing judges at Nanterre, where they reproached Mme Le Pen for having distributed over Twitter images of executions by the jihadist group Islamic State.

 

Two parliamentary assistants put under scrutiny

A preliminary hearing has been opened by the Paris bench, which follows a parliamentary inquiry underway since 2015. The presiding judges are trying to determine if the Front National has created a system to remunerate its executives and employees with public funds of the European Union through contracts for assistants to deputies.

Following a police search at the FN head office, in February 2017, investigators seized a document leading them to believe that the ‘fraudulent’ was thought to have been established since 2012, and known by Marine Le Pen.

The European Parliament, which plays a civilian part in this affair, had informed the French justice department about the 29 parliamentary assistants. The trigger was their presence in positions listed in the last information chart for France, which throws doubt on their effective employment at the assembly sitting at Strasbourg.

 

 

French factory workers on hunger strike; Rumours abound over L’Oreal share buyback

21 Oct

French factory workers on hunger strike, one hospitalised

(original story in Le Monde) http://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2013/10/19/psa-poissy-un-des-ouvriers-en-greve-de-la-faim-hospitalise_3499408_3234.html

The negotiations ended Friday 18 October, between the seven union members from Solidaires Unitaires Democratiques (SUD), on hunger strike for a month, and the management of PSA Poissy. Three among them were taken ill, and one of them was taken to the hospital in Poissy by the emergency services.
According to Freddy Bruneel, departmental secretary of the trade union Solidaires Yvelines, who reported this information, “the delegation of PSA Poissy remain obtuse and indifferent to the distress of their employees.” “They are on the edge psychologically,” confided the doctor of the group who accompanied these workers, cited by Le Parisien.
Installed in tents in front of the railings of the third pole of PSA a Poissy, among the Yvelines, the seven members of SUD-Auto, part of the trade union Solidaires, denounced as one the “making of posters” and the “syndicalist repression” as reason for their belonging to SUD, but also the “repeated attacks of moral and emotional harassment” dating back several years.

LONG NEGOTIATIONS
New negotiations started at the start of the afternoon aiming at ending the crisis dragged on late into the evening between the unionists, the deputy-constable of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Philippe Court, a representative of the labour administration and the management of PSA Poissy.
“There is a common desire to advance things. This situation is not agreeable for the syndicalistes or for the firm,” intimated a spokesperson of PSA-Poissy. “They have a job which awaits them at the factory, but if they do not want to restart their work, they can also form a part of the plan of voluntary departures from the group,” she added.

SANITATION RISKS
The hygiene situation of the unionists was strained this week, according to the group of local doctors, of which several were members of the League of Human Rights, which accompanied the strikers. “The slightest infection, the slightest trauma occurring in these conditions could have grave implications for the medical plan,” warned the doctors on Wednesday.
The home secretary of the party of the left, François Delapierre, demanded Tuesday that the minister of the economy, Pierre Moscovici, write to the head of the PSA Philippe Varin supporting the demands of the employees who “are risking today their lives”. On Tuesday 8 October,the old spokesperson of the NPA, Oliver Besancenot, came to lend his support to the strikers.

L’Oreal re-acquires its possessions

(original story in Le Monde) http://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2013/10/18/l-oreal-veut-ajouter-carita-et-decleor-a-sa-palette_3498221_3234.html

L’Oréal is shopping to buy back its possessions. The global number one in cosmetics announced, Thursday 17 October, its agreement with the Japanese beauty giant Shiseido, for the repurchase of Decléor, the primary world aromatherapy brand, and Carita, which was the hairdresser of all Paris, before launching its beauty products. The price tag for these two brands, dozing in the bosom of the Japanese group, reached a height of €230million.
L’Oréal counts on laying its hands on these brands bought up in 1986 by Shiseido, which made altogether €100m in turnover and is very prominent in the market for professional skincare in beauty salons, spas and hairdressers. For An Verhulst-Santos, director general of the division of professional products at L’Oréal, “the outlook for international development particularly (of these two brands) are very promising.” An accord could be signed within the next few weeks.
With this exercise, Shiseido – which still achieves half of its sales in Japan – is pursuing its strategy of re-centering on Asia and the redrawing of its perimeter to preserve its most profitable activities. The group has suffered since the start of 2013 with faltering sales in Europe. In 2012, it had to endure a very costly restructuring of its American relation, Bare Essentials, and has since then preferred to bet on its promising results in China.
These twelve last months, L’Oréal has realised a good number of acquisitions, at all latitudes. In Brazil, the French group announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the Emporio Body Store chain, through its close relation The Body Shop. It also bought an important participant in beauty from Kenya, Interconsumer Products, and even the make-up company Vogue in Colombia. In the United States, the group topped off its coverage of hair salons by taking in hand Emiliani Enterprises, and Urban Decay, a luxury make-up brand. In China, it acquired Magic Holdings, major specialist in beauty masks.
The group, presided over by Jean-Paul Agon, is diversifying its acquisitions in the hope that one among them will become strongly profitable. Something in the mould of Kiehl’s, the American brand which made $35million (€25million) in operating income when it was bought by L’Oréal in 2000 and which posted since then annual sales of $500million. The group has kept the company in its portfolio happily for three years, along with the nail varnish makers Essie.

THE RESULTS OF ITS MANAGEMENT RECORD
In a global cosmetic market of which the growth slowed in the first quarter, L’Oréal showed that its competitivity is still improving, with a record management result for the first six months of the year, of €2,04 billion.
The health of the world cosmetics leader is scrutinised as much by analysts as the date of an eventual recalibration of L’Oréal’s capital approaches at a rapid pace. The agreements on the right of preemption reflect those of the principal shareholders of the group – the Bettencourt family (30.3%), as well as the Swiss group Nestlé (29.3%), which has for forty years held a capital stake – are due to expire in April 2014. “It is understandable that the administrative board of Nestlé is asking itself whether this participation is worth almost €22billion,” intimated Jean-Paul Agon in an interview with the monthly Capital in October. He recalled “that the global pact which forbids Nestlé any attempt at the capital of that residing with Liliane Bettencourt remains, and until six months after its expiration.”
The daughter of Liliane Bettencourt, Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers and her husband, Jean-Pierre Meyers, have declared that they do not intend to end their participation either. Jean-Paul Agon, without unveiling the climax of this serial, did not dismiss a repurchase of the shares of Nestlé. “I have already reported that we have significant financial capabilities. Our stake in Sanofi, obviously a financial reserve, represents some eight to nine billion euros,” he specified in Capital. There remains €13billion to find to repurchase the shares retained by Nestlé. These are not petty purchases. The supporters of economic nationalism are agitating for such a scenario. The analysts are as favorable, for purely financial reasons, for an acquisition of these shares in L’Oréal.