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French press review 25 December 2015

Text by: Clea Broadhurst
7 min

In the French newspapers this morning, the main news still is about the decision the government made regarding stripping dual nationals of their French nationality.


Le Monde has its editorial on the latest controversy. It headlines with “Francois Hollande’s double mistake", with all parties in France, whether they’re on the right or the left are quick to jump at the President’s throat. 

The right is asking for Christiane Taubira, the Minister of Justice, to quit, following her saying the amendment would be dropped right before the government announced it would be added to the Constitution. The left, the communists, the greens and the socialists, are all pointing fingers at the "huge mistake" this was, Le Monde says.

The paper also has the international reaction to this. The Italian communist daily Il Manifesto headlines with “Francois Le Pen”, in reference to Marine le Pen, the leader of the far right party, le Front National.

Some other international media outlets, such as the Saudi website Arab News, says this is an “ideological gift to the far right”, underlining the fear that this amendment could isolate Muslims within France.

In its European edition, the Wall Street Journal has as a headline “Change in France”, saying that, so much for Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, France now has to adapt itself after having suffered such waves of attacks. 

Communist newspaper L’Humanité headlines “When the left gets cosy on the far right’s turf” saying that this will lead to the inevitable creation of two different types of citizens, and while the far right applauds the move, the left might simply choke on it.

The paper highlights the fact that the last time the French government has ever considered, for real, stripping one’s nationality was under the Vichy regime, during World War II. And that if it is largely supported by the far right and some within the right, this measure goes against everything the republique stands for today. 

Libération has as a headline “terrorism, to punish is not to strip one’s nationality, and to strip one’s nationality is not to punish." It says that this amendment to counter terrorists hurts France’s principles without adding a shred of security to it. Even worse, it could almost make happy those it wants to punish.

The left-leaning paper also chose to publish the letter from a dual national, French and Algerian man, written to President Hollande. He explains in it how pained he is, but moreover, how he feels more affected by this “symbolic violence” compared to anything a terrorist could actually do. It ends by saying that by passing this law, Hollande will lose not only his vote, but also those of the many bi-nationals. 

Catholic paper La Croix’s editorial headlines with “Such a vulnerable God” and it begs the question, could places of worship be the targets of terrorism during Christmas celebrations? It says that after the November attacks, France's retaliation in Syria might push the Islamic State armed group to strike yet again, despite the fact that the Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, says all is in place to guarantee everyone’s safety. 

But rather than warning people to stay at home for Christmas, La Croix cries out that this is on the contrary, the best time to come together to celebrate Life. La Croix also chose to have a round up of Christmas celebrations around the world. 

Finally, right-leaning Le Figaro is the only one not having either the nationality debate or the terrorist attack threat on their front page, but headlines with the Pope’s message, calling on believers "to act soberly, in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential."

They also got their hands on exclusive pictures of the Vatican, and the daily life of the Pope.

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