French press review 31 December 2015


The French press looks back at 2015 today. Spoiler alert, the consensus is that it was a pretty bleak year. Plus, Slate says you should not be celebrating New Year's Eve tonight.


Left-wing Libération headline focuses on French President François Hollande's proposal to strip dual nationals of their citizenship if they are convicted of terrorism.

The announcement was made last week, but everyone is still talking about it.

"To escape the trap" reads Libé's cover, which has a huge picture of Hollande next to its headline. Last week, the project was seen by political analysts as a way for socialist Hollande to rally the right, and the far-right.

But, writes Libé, "from the right to the left, the comments are so divided that the constitutional reform project can no longer claim to embody national unity in a France at war against terrorism."

Hollande now has to deal with the right, angry at him for stealing their ideas, but also with the left: many socialist MPs considering him to have crossed the red line.

Only 100 of those MPs are considering voting in favor of the reform. And that's a big problem for Hollande: he needs two thirds of the National Assembly and the Senate to say endorse his proposal.

For a political analyst, writing in the newspaper, this means Hollande will lose in 2017, because he forgot about the left wing voters who elected him in 2012.

According to today's Le Figaro, French people are in favor of citizenship-stripping.

The newspaper has a poll which says that only 15% of the French disagree with the proposal. The rate of approval is about 80% amongst socialist sympathisers.

These numbers leads Le Figaro to ask itself in an editorial why we should reject a symbol of firmness.

"Public opinion is often right" writes the right wing newspaper. "It's real life".

Why should the French not adopt the measure to fight the war on terrorism, purely on symlbolic grounds, wonders the editorial. And there's really just Le Figaro, that thinks Hollande will become "a great man" by defending the measure.

Communist daily L'Humanité says that "after 2015, everything has to be reinvented".

The newspaper takes a look back at what went wrong in 2015 - and let's be frank it was indeed a pretty bleak year.

This year was the year "when terrorism hit France", when "the far right Front National scored higher than ever before" and when "the migrant crisis worsened" writes L'Huma.

What is needed now, says an editorial on page 3 of the paper, is "dramatic work to regenerate democracy and public debate". "Let's not live this ever again" it concludes.

Now to something more serious: Slate France has a funny article, in which journalist Nadia Daam explains why she hates New Year's Eve celebrations.

We know, 2015 will definitly not rank amongst the best years ever. That's why, writes Daam, "Saying goodbye to 2015 with champagne and laughter is something infinitely sad and desperate".

Also, technically, celebrating a new year means you'll have a year less to live.

"It is at this moment that we take a look at the past months and we take good resolutions, like when we just learned that we had a serious illness and that we suddenly decide to "live better" and "enjoy" life, she writes.

The problem? Is that no one ever follows through with those resolutions.

Daam asked her friends to share one good memory of a new year celebration, and apparently no one could remember anything.

What should you do then, I hear you asking?

Spend New Year's Eve at home, alone or with a few friends, have a normal dinner and maybe watch a movie. "That might not be ambitious" concludes the article, "but at least you're not obeying any rule, and that doesn't stop you from whishing the best to other people".

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