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French press review 22 January 2018

4 min

How the US Senate spoiled President Donald Trump's first anniversary. What Corsican nationalists hope to gain from this week's meetings with mainland political figures. And will the World Economic Forum opening this week in Davos, Switzerland, make the world a better, fairer place? Alll this is in the French press today.


Le Monde's main story is headlined "Trump anniversary marked by setback". That's a reference to the fact that the US Senate failed to pass the federal budget on Saturday, forcing a partial closure of state services.

Hundreds of thousands of Uncle Sam's civil servants are this morning technically out of a job.

And all this despite a Republican majority in the US lower house and a one-seat advantage in the Senate.

Le Monde says the president has failed to mobilise his own troops through a mixture of ignorance, insensitivity and inflexibility on the question of the status of the "Dreamers," the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who arrived as children in the United States and who Trump now wants to expel.

The opposition Democrats want to keep the country shut down until the end of this month at the least, so as to embarrass the president when he makes his State of the Union address on 30 January.

Corsican nationalists arrive in force in Paris

The top story in right-wing Le Figaro looks at a local challenge to the local president, Emmanuel Macron.

Following their victory in last month's regional elections, a group of Corsican nationalist politicians arrive in Paris this morning for meetings with the various powers-that-be on the mainland. Their objective is to strengthen Corsica's autonomy.

Le Figaro's editorial warns that this is a serious test for the Macron administration and that there is very little room for error.

The Corsican nationalists arrive with the undeniable boost of a huge win in the December poll. But the Paris government is still in charge. A certain amount of delicacy is going to be called for, says Le Figaro, if the negotiations are not to spiral into an incessant series of threats and counterthreats.

Especially since the strongmen from the Mediterranean island seem to be driven by an insatiable appetite for mainland subsidies, support and handouts, according to the paper.

Nothing less than the French constitution is at stake, says Le Figaro. How far Macron will bend under nationalist pressure remains to be seen.

An open letter to Emmanuel Macron

Left-leaning Libération carries an open letter from the writer Yann Moix, criticising French policy on migration, especially the treatment of those migrants trapped in the northern port city of Calais as they wait for a chance to slip across the Channel.

Moix accuses Macon of humiliating France on a daily basis because of the way France is humiliating the exiles.

"You call them 'migrants'," the letter continues, "in fact they are exiles. Migration is a statistic, exile is a destiny."

Moix accuses the president of making empty promises, of telling lies and of maintaining double standards.

He offers video evidence of police brutality against Calais migrants, saying the president either knows what's going on in the "Jungle" and is unworthy of his position, or he doesn't know what's going on and is unworthy of his position.

The letter ends as follows: "It is no longer you who are advancing, Mr President, rather it is truth. You can take action against me for slander; future generations will take action against you for a horrendous crime."

Davos hopes to heal a divided world

With the World Economic Forum opening this week in Davos, Switzerland, the papers have started churning out the usual shock statistics on just how unfairly the cake is shared in the human family.

This morning, Le Monde notes the indignant observation of the food charity Oxfam that 82 percent of the wealth produced in the world last year went into the pockets of the richest one percent of humanity.

In concrete terms, Oxfam points out that it takes just four days for the managing director of any one of the world five biggest textile companies to earn more than the average textile worker in Bangladesh earns in his or her entire lifetime.

In the US, three men - Microsoft's Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and the investor Warren Buffet - together own more than half the rest of the US population.

The theme at Davos this year is "Building a common future in a divided world". We wish them luck.

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