The French-American Foundation Weekly Brief

The French-American Foundation Weekly Brief



The small Indian Ocean island of Mayotte voted overwhelmingly to become France’s 101st département, according to the Telegraph. Ivan Rioufol’s blog at Le Figaro asked how French law might be applied to the mostly Muslim island, raising the minimum marriage age, outlawing polygamy, and imposing French-style separation of church and state. France24 explained that some Imams appealed for a “no” vote, and Mayotte Hebdo provided reactions of French politicians from the left and the right.

The Washington Times described how continuing economic difficulties are trammeling President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans for dramatic structural reform in France. Forbes noted that the president is “anxious to regain the initiative” and do more to boost the economy. Former presidential candidate Ségolène Royal said the president was looking away while the “country is burning,” according to Le Nouvel Observateur.

The New Republic reviewed Children of the Revolution: The French, 1799-1914, which describes how the “long nineteenth century” in French history made the country what it is today.

La Vie des idées discussed sociologist Julien Beaugé’s new book, Love in the Banlieues, which explores the interpersonal and romantic relationships of young people in France’s city suburbs. La Voix du Nord interviewed representatives from Banlieues d’Europe, who spoke of the vibrant cultural expression they observed in the suburbs of Lille.

See also: 
– INSEE: A new population dossier for France.
– France’s overseas representation.

United States

Journalists from the Financial Times conducted an exclusive interview with President Barack Obama in which he discussed the continuing economic crisis and the United States’ changing strategy in Afghanistan. At La Vie des idées, philosopher Dick Howard examined the new political conditions brought about by Obama’s election and tried to outline the future course of the president’s policy.  Les Echos compared American and European perspectives on economic and military issues.

The Obama administration laid out its plan to save ailing U.S. automakers, noted Le Nouvel Observateur. Les Echos explained why General Motors CEO Richard Wagoner was asked to resign during a meeting with a presidential task-force, noting that he had become a symbol of “irresponsibility and managerial greed.”

RFI reported that the White House announced the creation of an international forum on climate change that will bring together representatives from the 17 largest world economies. AFP noted U.S. Climate Change Envoy Todd Stern’s remark that the United States is “eager” to reengage on questions of climate change but that it would not do so alone. noted that Howard Dean, former presidential candidate and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is traveling to France under the auspices of Terra Nova to discuss “modernizing political life in the Obama era.” Le Figaro explained that the Socialist Party is looking to the 2008 Democratic campaign for inspiration for its own presidential contest in 2012.

See also:
– Center for New American Security: The future of American military engagement.
– Rue89: Rethinking the American city.

Business and Economy explained why the task force gave U.S. automaker Chrysler 30 days to complete a merger with Italian automaker Fiat because of the company’s strength in manufacturing fuel efficient cars. La Voix du Nord profiled Sergio Marchionne, the head of Fiat and an atypical manager who has succeeded in raising the international profile of the Italian company.

Columnist Celestine Bohlen argued at Bloomberg that the dollar isn’t going to yield to another world reserve currency, saying that that idea has “about as much appeal in today’s globalized economy as Esperanto.” An analysis at Real Clear Markets argued that we shouldn’t fear a “lost decade” in the United States because it has already happened.

The OECD released its Economic Outlook Interim Report this week, arguing that the deepest and most widespread recession in the OECD and world economies in more than 50 years may drive unemployment into the double digits for the first time since the 1990s.

President Sarkozy wrote an global op-ed, published by the Washington Post, arguing that World Growth must be a priority and that “cooperation is a necessity, not an option.”

See also:
Forbes: A light at the end of the tunnel.
– Telos: Why are CEOs so well paid?


The G20 summit took place in London this week, bringing together leaders from systemically important countries to discuss global economic issues. Der Spiegel asked whether the G20 can save the world, as a common course for the United States, Europe, and China remains elusive. The New York Times said that the event will help determine the extent to which the economic model shaped largely by Britain and America after World War II will remain the basis for global economic growth. Le Point said that the meeting ended on an optimistic note with attendees agreeing to provide an additional $1.1 trillion in capital to stimulate economic growth.

The Brookings Institution provided its own set of recommendations for global policy coordination, including revitalizing trade, fighting protectionism, and stimulating macroeconomic growth. The Institute Montaigne also gave advice, arguing that restoring confidence in the financial system is a precondition for stimulating economic growth. The Council on Foreign Relations outlined the policy priorities for heads of state from different countries. French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde told the BBC that France’s calls for greater financial regulation are non-negotiable. In Le Figaro, Pierre Rousselin described the meeting as a test for the French president.

Le Figaro outlined Obama’s first overseas voyage to Europe, arguing that the president has a relationship to the continent that is more “theoretical and distanced” than that of his predecessors. Eurotopics called the president’s visit an “acid test” and provided press reaction from papers across Europe. At a speech in Strasbourg after a meeting with the French president, Obama said that the United States “is not looking to be a patron of Europe but a partner,” according to Voice of America.

The United States and Iran had their first diplomatic contact this week at an international conference on Afghanistan at The Hague, according to Le Monde. Iran denied that such contact occurred, according to the Christian Science Monitor, but Ouest France reported that the Islamic Republic declared itself ready to engage in Afghanistan by supporting reconstruction projects and trying to stop drug traffickers.

See also:
Foreign Affairs: Who gets a state and why.
L’Express: The United States on the UN Human Rights Council.

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.

Please direct comments or suggestions to [email protected] and [email protected].




Share to:  Facebook  Twitter   LinkedIn   Email

Previous Article Made in France
Next Article Sylvie Aubry’s Les Fées

Related Articles