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French press review 13 July 2018

Text by: William Niba
3 min

Can EU oil giants end their shameful trade practices on "African quality" diesel? And European leaders snub Donald Trump's threats to leave NATO.

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We begin with Le Monde's investigation of a silent scandal taking place in Africa, with multinationals making hundreds of billions from marketing extremely toxic fuel in west Africa, profiting for lax legislation currenly in place.

The paper reports that the Netherland's environment watchdog confirmed the scale of the dirty business, first revealed by the Swiss NGO Public Eye two years earlier.

According to the findings, for decades, the so-called "African quality fuel", was deliberately mixed with well-known highly toxic chemicals, at factories both on and offshore, to be sold at stations across west Africa, often with the blessing of local authorities.

Le Monde says that cars dumped by Europe into Africa has kept the high demand for the so-called "African diesel" flourishing, the proceeds of which are fueling wars, coups d’états, scams and environmental tragedies.

The publication warns that some European governments who have ignored the scandal run the risk of becoming its first victims, as the negative publicity could affect their own energy businesses in the oil-rich continent.

President Trump's provocative stance against his Western allies over their low levels of defence spending at Thursday's NATO summit in Brussels also drew reactions from French commentators.

Le Monde claims that despite Trump's aggressive position, America's European allies have kept their cool, with the French President Emmanuel Macron telling Trump not to “fragilize” the transatlantic alliance that took so much to build. Reacting to Donald Trump’s clamour for an increase in NATO defence spending, Macron stated in blunt terms that the cost of peace is less expensive than that of war.

La Presse de la Manche also says that during the Summit, Trump displayed his determination to break up Europe and weaken America's allies.

The paper accuses him of feeding on the fat of the migrant crisis and conducting himself as an election agent and propagandist for Europe's far right extremists and neo-Nazists.

According to the newspaper, not even British Prime Minister Teresa May was spared by the US President, who didn't miss the opportunity of ridiculing the rather weak concept of Brexit she is implementing.

La Presse de la Manche concludes its reflection with a damning verdict. As the paper puts it, the Trump it saw at the NATO summit, is a man who loves conflict and enjoys trampling on Western values.

L'Humanité accuses EU leaders of giving the green light to Washington's desire to put in place a new world order starting with the Middle East and Africa, which are bearing the brunt of Donald Trump's policies of confrontation.

The Communist Daily claims that what Trump wants, as he prepares to meet President Putin in Helsinki on Monday, is a new Cold War, in which Russia will not be an ideological opponent but a rival.

According to L'Humanité, that's contrary to what the world wants, which is peace, nuclear disarmament and confidence among the world's nations

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