Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

SOUTH AFRICA'S RAMAPHOSA HAILS 'NEW DAWN' IN STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

A controversial Chinese New Year

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

New Beginning? Ramaphosa Replaces Zuma in South Africa

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

On the green slopes: An eco-friendly revolution in French ski resorts?

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

The Élysée palace, France's presidential powerhouse

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Is the aviation industry free-riding on climate change efforts?

Read more

FOCUS

The revival of the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway line

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: Girls in Malawi victims of 'sexual cleansing' ritual

Read more

REVISITED

Video: How the 2014 Winter Olympics transformed Sochi

Read more

IN THE PRESS

An overview of the stories making the French and international newspaper headlines. From Monday to Friday live at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2009-11-20

Belgium’s PM named EU’s first President

Belgium’s papers all lead with the nomination of Herman Van Rompuy to the post of President of the European Council. In the UK however there's less interest in Catherine Ashton’s selection as the EU’s first High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

Herman Van Rompuy won’t have to pack his bags – he’s staying in Brussels but donning a new hat. The Belgian Prime Minister has been selected as the EU’s first President. Flander’s biggest selling paper, Het Laatste Nieuws, leads with a photo of Van Rompuy and the headline “A Belgian as the First”.


The French-language paper Le Soir wonders whether Obama will call Van Rompuy when he needs to “speak to Europe”. Neither Van Rompuy nor Ashton have a high international profile compared to other candidates for the two top jobs.


The Independent
in the UK says Catherine Ashton has a lucky habit of being in the right place at the right time. She’s leader of the House of Lords yet has a low profile in the British Labour Party. Some commentators believe her post carries more clout than that of the President of the Commission. She will head up Europe’s beefed up diplomatic service with 5,000 staff posted to 130 EU Embassies around the world.

The Guardian focuses on the machinations behind the selection of the two leaders. Apparently the former Italian PM Massimo d’Alema was the front runner of Asthon’s job but Israel opposed his candidacy because of his pro-Palestine position. This put the ball in Britain’s court. Because Ashton now has the foreign policy job, Britain is out of the running for the Commission’s economic posts. This suits other EU heavyweights – it means France and Germany will be able to lay claim to the big single market, financial services, trade and competition portfolios. The UK is afraid that EU legislation to regulate financial services could threaten the City.

French left-leaning paper Libération worries about the charisma vacuum in the choice of Van Rompuy and Ashton. The paper compares the Belgian Prime Minister to a ‘local anaesthetic’ and says the only person more boring than him is… Catherine Ashton!


Other stories in today’s international papers:

The Irish Times
Government calls for replay of match with France

The Irish Times
Not falling into a trap of pointing the finger

 

By James CREEDON

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2018-02-16 shootings

China rings in Lunar New Year with 'blackface and big bottoms'

INTERNATIONAL PAPERS - Friday, Feb. 16, 2018: Social media erupts with shame and rage after China's biggest Lunar New Year broadcast reportedly shows a Chinese woman wearing...

Read more

2018-02-16 trains

France's highest honour for heroic Polish climbers?

FRENCH PAPERS - Friday, Feb. 16, 2018: An online petition aims to award the French legion of honour to the group of Polish climbers who saved a French woman's life in the...

Read more

2018-02-15 Paris

Homeless pizza chef makes plea to French president

FRENCH PAPERS - Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018: "I am not asking for la bella vita, just a little room and some dignity." The words of homeless pizza chef Moncef in an open letter to...

Read more

2018-02-15 Jacob Zuma

South Africa's 'Zexit' roller coaster ride finally ends

INTERNATIONAL PAPERS - Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018: South African papers breathe a collective sigh of relief after Jacob Zuma steps down as the country's president. Parkland, Florida...

Read more

2018-02-14 Benjamin Netanyahu

'The beginning of the end' for Netanyahu

INTERNATIONAL PRESS, 14.02.18: Left-wing Israeli paper Haaretz announces "the countdown to the end of Netanyahu's political life" after police recommend the Israeli PM should be...

Read more