In the press

Debate on French national identity causes controversy

Immigration Minister Eric Besson’s call for a national debate about French identity has drawn criticism from the left-leaning press. Is this just a bid to win over voters from the far-right Front National party?

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Libération says the debate on national identity should not be seen as an issue that belongs solely to the right-wing. In it’s editorial, the paper says this is probably a calculated move to win over voters from the Front National, France’s far-right party. There are also suspicions that this move is a means of distracting the public from several damaging controversies that have affected the UMP-ruling party in recent weeks. Eric Besson also has an interest in shifting attention away from the deportation of three Afghan immigrants.

The right-leaning paper Le Figaro reports the news in a more factual manner. It says that the education system needs to be re-hauled. One of it’s roles is to reinforce the notion of French identity, yet many students leave the French school system still identifying more strongly with their country of origin, the paper notes.

Le Parisien is somewhere in between the positions of Libération and Le Figaro. It reports on the opposition of left-leaning politicians to Besson’s call for a debate on this matter.

Other stories in today’s French papers:

Le Parisien

More and more women are being employed in jobs traditionally associated with men.

La Croix

770,000 extra people have found themselves unemployed in France since the beginning of the crisis one year ago.

L’Equipe

France’s biggest sports paper leads with Sunday’s cancellation of a Paris Saint Germain – Olympique Marseille football match over concerns about swine flu. When will it be rescheduled, the paper asks?

 

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