Is France bankrupt? Daring to say so is a major no-no for French politicians. Labour Minister Michel Sapin has just experienced this after he said so during an interview, prompting an immediate and fierce denial from the government. So is France's political elite hiding the truth, or is France better off than some would think?
Gay marriage has arrived in Parliament. This week, French MPs began debating a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. The opposition conservatives have promised to fight the bill to the bitter end. Also, France is waging a war in Mali against Islamist groups, with little debate and few images. Is Hollande building his credentials as a real boss?
After spending months struggling with the euro, unemployment and a reputation as an indecisive leader, President François Hollande has morphed into General Hollande. He is now heading a war in Mali against Islamist militants, warning that France's national security is at stake. While the outcome of the war remains unclear, our guests discuss whether this conflict could help boost Hollande.
"Terrorist" or "Islamist"? We look at the semantics involved in France's offensive in Mali. Also, reaction to Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah on social media; it's the end of the RUMP - the breakaway faction of the UMP party supporting François Fillon... and finally, Gérard Depardieu is buried by culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles!
The Socialist government will soon present a bill allowing same-sex marriage. It thought this would be easy, given the support of a majority of French people for the measure (60% according to the latest polls). But the furious reaction from the Catholic Church and conservative parties, expected to culminate during mass demonstrations this Sunday, has surprised even its promoters. Will gay marriage become a new culture war here in France?
FRENCH PAPERS, Weds. 09/01/13: According to Le Parisien, by demonstrating against gay marriage the opposition UMP could be falling into a trap. Meanwhile, Le Parisien explores hate speech on Twitter and what the government can do about it. And Libération investigates citizens who improve their communities in underprivileged neighbourhoods.
It's a new year and hopefully a new chapter for François Hollande. His first six months in office were tough. With unemployment relentlessly on the rise, his popularity at a record low and a humiliating rebuke by France's Constitutional Court of his bid to slap a 75% tax rate on the super-rich, the Socialist president is struggling. Some, and not only in the opposition, are wondering whether he and his team really have what it takes to run the country.
What has changed since France elected its first Socialist president in nearly a quarter of a century? The government has pledged an unprecedented 30 billion euros in belt-tightening, but it'll take a lot more than that to dent the deficit. Meanwhile, unemployment has continued to rise while growth has remained anaemic. Has politics in this country really changed in the nine months since election day?
On the menu today: our top story of 2012: the first Socialist elected president in nearly a quarter century. François Hollande ousting incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.The honeymoon didn't last long though for Hollande and his government whose popularity has plummeted steadily since inauguration day back in May. It may be cold comfort for the Socialists but Sarkozy's succession has torn the opposition UMP between supporters of Jean-François Copé and François Fillon.