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French Press Review 19 February 2018


The government's plans for immigration come under fire, even from its own ranks. Italian MPs are caught out fiddling their accounts.

Liberation’s cover story is on the immigration bill that will be presented by French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb to the council of ministers on Wednesday.

The article points out that the severity of this bill has been criticised even within the ruling parties "for its lack of humanity".

The article highlights the bill’s provisions that aim at increasing the number of expulsions and to extend the maximum period of administrative detention to up to 90 days, or even 105 in some cases, as compared to the current 45.

It will also reduce the appeal period for failed asylum seekers by half.

Five Star MPs fiddle books

Liberation also reports on the scandal gripping the Five Star Movement in Italy on the eve of the general election.

At least eight parliamentarians of the party are reported to have rigged their financial declarations to keep part of their salary.

This is in violation of the party’s internal regulations which stipulate that all elected officials must pay half of their salary to an investment fund for small and medium businesses.

The article states that despite the controversy, the party remains the favourite for the 4 March elections.

Trump fights back over Russia probe

Le Monde’s lead story is on the indictment of thirteen Russian citizens and three Russian entities by special prosecutor Robert Mueller for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

The paper points out that the White House is working to minimise the impact of these revelations by denying any collusion between the Trump campaign team and the indicted Russians.

It also adds that the US intelligence service fears that Russia will carry on this war during the November 2018 mid-term elections.

Turkey, US try to stay friends

Le Monde also reports on the efforts of Turkey and the US to ease tensions between them.

The article states that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put his grievances aside by meeting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Ankara on Thursday.

In an unusual break from protocol, the meeting was held without a translator.

The meeting was also attended by Turkey's Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The article points out that despite positive comments from both sides, no specific commitment has been made and ambiguities remain.

One of the main causes of friction between the two countries has been Turkey's military operation against Kurdish militias in northern Syria.