The French-American Foundation Weekly Brief

The French-American Foundation Weekly Brief


Le Monde described the strategy of the Socialist Party in the approaching European elections as it trails in the polls against the UMP. Libération noted that Ségolène Royal and Martine Aubry, who battled for leadership of the party earlier this year, will make a joint appearance at a meeting in late May to “demonstrate the unity of the party.”

A piece at World Politics Review took stock of the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, noting that the head of state is pushing forward with controversial reform programs despite the global economic downturn.  

Le Figaro reported a spate of violent, armed attacks in French middle and high-schools in the past month, leading French authorities to consider the installation of metal detectors at some school entrances. Rue89 criticized the suggestion, arguing that metal detectors are not a real solution for violence in schools that suffer from understaffing and a lack of funds. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie promised “drastic action” against drug traffickers after they fired on police using Kalashnikov rifles in the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, according to the AFP.

Reuters described the experience of thousands of foreign exchange students studying in France who were caught up in strikes at French universities and received first-hand experience with the country’s “protest culture.” Le Monde described a call for a “refounding” of French universities by 29 prestigious academics coming from various political persuasions and academic disciplines. The Christian Science Monitor said that among the striking students, support for “a prolonged fight seemed to be flagging,” and as the actual protest movement “runs out of steam,” Les Echos described what it saw as the “lessons of a long crisis.”

See also:  
– The Dallas Morning News:  The Wrought Iron Museum of Rouen.
France Today: The Cannes film festival.


France-Amérique interviewed Jacques Attali, head of the microfinance organization PlaNet Finance, who spoke at a conference this week sponsored by the French-American Foundation and the French-American Chamber of Commerce.

France Info outlined U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to raise fuel-efficiency standards for automakers to 39 miles per gallon for cars and 30 mpg for trucks by 2016. Patrick Coroller, director of the Agence de défense et de maîtrise de l’énergie, an environmental advocacy group, told Libération that the measure is not only good for the environment but will also encourage innovation in the U.S. automobile sector. reported that Guy Yelda, French consul-general to New York, is leaving his post after less than a year. France-Amérique noted that Philippe Laillot of the French Foreign Ministry will be Yelda’s replacement, though the official declaration did not specify the reasons for his departure, or when it will be.

Jim Landers, a French-American Foundation Young Leader, explored whether the French health care system could be a model for the United States in the Dallas Morning News. A piece from ClimateWire described the French approach to reclaiming energy from spent nuclear fuel and analyzed whether the process could be used in nuclear facilities in the United States.

See also:
– The U.S. Senate passes new protections for credit card users.
– La Croix: Analyzing Obama’s speech at Notre Dame University.


Defense information giant Thales finished a leadership shake-up this week that saw Luc Vigneron replace former Chairman and CEO Denis Ranque, according to Reuters. The Financial Times described the recent strategic maneuvering of the group’s main shareholders, which included Dassault Aviation, Alcatel-Lucent, and the French government.

French nuclear provider AREVA sold the stock it held in oil giant Total in an effort to gather funds for its own projects, according to Le Figaro. Meanwhile, Total SA has been given rights to conduct seismic surveys and drill wells on 90 percent of a 965-square-mile exploration block off the coast of Egypt, according to Forbes.

INSEE, France’s national statistical authority, said that France entered a recession in the first quarter of this year, according to the Associated Press. Bloomberg noted that the French and German governments are looking to sell as much as €17 billion in bonds to make up for shortfalls in tax revenues brought about by the global downturn.

Air France-KLM and Delta are planning a joint venture that would capture up to 25 percent of passenger transport capacity between Europe and the United States, according to the New York Times. The Wall Street Journal noted that Air France-KLM’s stock priced jumped 11 percent on news of the deal, leading the paper to predict that the company could be “pulling out of its nosedive.”

See also:
– The Financial Times: U.S. banks repaying bailout cash.
Newsweek: Improving productivity for economic recovery.


The Pakistan Daily Times reported that France and Pakistan are moving toward a strategic partnership as President Sarkozy met with Pakistan’s chief of army staff, General Ashfaq Kayani.  The BBC noted that the two countries have agreed to cooperate on civilian nuclear power, though details as to what the collaboration entails are not yet clear. An editorial in the Daily Beast criticized Western support for Pakistan, which the author calls an “unstable nuclear regime,” and a piece from the Atlantic Community argued that the international community faces a “hard road” in preventing a collapse of the Pakistani government. conducted a survey asking people whether they felt more like citizens of their country or citizens of the world, with an average 66 percent saying they primarily think of themselves as citizens of their country, 10 percent as citizens of the world, and 20 percent as both equally.

Le Figaro described the meeting between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, noting that both parties reinforced their positions and no substantive progress was made. The Egyptian Al-Ahram pointed out that the new U.S. president’s strong engagement in the Middle East peace process has “served to narrow inter-Arab differences” on whether to confront or engage with Israel.

Le Point reported that U.S. Vice-president Joe Biden traveled to the Balkans this week on a three-city tour to signal the United States’ reengagement with the region and encourage efforts to maintain stability. RFI noted that it has been thirteen years since a high U.S. official visited the region.

See also:
Le Monde: The controversy over closing Guantanamo.
– Associated Press: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s open letter to Burma.

The views expressed in the preceding press coverage are solely those of the authors and do not reflect the views of the French-American Foundation nor its directors, officers, employees or representatives.

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