After a surrealistic debate last week between the two primary candidates about their comparative proximity to the catholic pope, and the reminder by the winner, François Fillon, that he did not consider abortion as a fundamental right, the French catholic church hierarchy has been trying to block a new law that criminalises anti-abortion websites that mimic as official websites, while providing misleading information… With the usual newspeak deviance of arguing for a freedom of speech that is not under threat.
Archive for French elections
While at a much lesser scale than the US election result, the outcome of the French Republican primaries of last weekend shows a similar shift to the right of the electorate, who thus favoured the arch-conservative [Thatcherite] François Fillion over the milder center-right Alain Juppé. Some proposals in his program are downright [very much down and very much to the right] scary, among which
- cancel the 35 hour legal working week and let companies “negociate” up to a 48 hour working week
- apply an increase of 10% of the VAT, this most unfair of taxes, against a decrease of 40 billions € on company taxes
- cut 500,000 public sector jobs, increase working hours in the public sector and restrict the status of civil servant to a few ministries
- prohibit adoption and medically assisted procreation outside heterosexual and married couples
- collaborate with Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin, including ending sanctions against Russia’s annexation of Crimea,
- turn the EU into a Europe of Nations (which happens to be the name of the extreme-right group in the European Parliament)
- rewrite history school programs to deliver a “story of the French Nation” that plainly replace teaching with State indoctrination
- strip French terrorists of French nationality (a proposal that goes against Article 15 of the Declaration of Human Rights)
- leave the European Court of Human Rights (as Theresa May),
- and ban burkinis from beaches, an obviously definitive answer to all secularism issues!
Scary enough to make me decide to vote against him at the second primary election next Sunday, as the winner is likely to be the next French president. (The alternative is simply terrifying!)
Following the attack on a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic last weekend and the recent vows by some Nazional Front candidates prior to the regional elections tomorrow to cut all funding of the local Planned Parenthood centres, kudos to the current French governmental campaign about women legal right to chose by themselves and for themselves, and about the available support and legal procedure. And to the Minister for Health for her tattoo! I am afraid this is not going to impact the predicted rise of the extreme right party, though…
Due to a new law introduced last May by the French government, it has now become almost impossible for foreign non-EU students who graduate from a French business (e.g., HEC or ESSEC) or engineer (e.g., Polytechnique) school, or from a university, to get a job in France after graduation, even with a firm offer from a company. (This post may sound like a strange complaint since, in some countries, a student visa prohibits its holder to get a permanent job without first exiting the country. But this was not the case in France till last May.) Indeed, those non-EU (post)graduates with a job offer need to apply to local administrations who decide whether or not the job fits a need and whether or not it could not be offered to a French national. (As if those local administrations had the proper expertise.) The procedure takes months, during which the (post)graduates cannot work. Months for no reason other than the administrations being understaffed. And in most cases the answer is no. Meaning these (post)graduates then have to leave the country within a month. And cannot apply to a student visa without first leaving the country…
This sudden change of policy has been heavily discussed in the national and international press (chinese version), on blogs, and by student and professional organisations: I cannot but join the flow of protests against this iniquitous, absurd, and counter-productive action, dictated by electoral motives catering to the rightmost (or just plain xenophobic) part of the electorate. It is counter-productive in that most of those students have been trained in elite public schools, meaning their training has been mostly supported by the State (i.e. the French taxpayer), which would only benefit from the input of highly qualified (post)graduates to the French economy. It is absurd in that those non-EU (post)graduates number in the thousands, hence are unlikely to make a dent in the immigration figures used to frighten the electorate. It is counter-productive because it sends the wrong message to potential students abroad and will thus lower the attractivity of French higher education, an attractivity which is already under pressure from competing countries like Canada and Australia (which just went ahead of France in terms of foreign students). It is absurd since the [former Education and currently Budget] Minister, Valérie Pécresse, has publicly written to the Minister of Interior to ask him to abolish a procedure “going the wrong way”. It is counter-productive because these students graduate from schools (HEC, Polytechnique, Essec, Mines, Ensae, &tc.) where there are more job offers than candidates with the proper training. So the typical xenophobic rethoric of “foreigners stealing jobs from nationals” falls completely off the mark there, even though it was instrumental in passing this law… Now, it is quite probable this law will not survive the elections next May, but le mal sera fait (in terms of attractivity)… Note that postdocs are not impacted by the procedure!