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Emmanuel Macron Immigration Press review Vegan Vegetarianism

Issued on • Modified

French press review 30 June 2018

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More reaction, mostly negative, to this week's European Union agreement on migrants and asylum-seekers. Why are the premises of some French butchers and fishmongers being smeared with fake blood? And what is remarkable about Laurent, a young man from the Belgian city of Ostend?


You will remember that early yesterday morning, European leaders finally reached common ground on the question of what to do with refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and others fleeing misery, murder and hopelessness.

Today Le Monde confirms that France will not be opening reception centres for migrants, one of the key elements in the Brussels deal.

We can imagine that the authorities in Italy or Hungary, for example, won't be rushing to build such centres either. And they're all perfectly within their rights, since the Brussels deal stressed the strictly voluntary aspect of the agreement. President Emmanuel Macron says France does not need such centres since it is not a nation of first arrival.

The UN's migration organisation and the aid group Doctors Without Borders have expressed the same fear - that the latest Brussels deal will simply leave more desperate people on Europe's doorstep. Some will be stuck in Turkey, some in Libya. And the organisations currently trying to help those who are fleeing towards Europe say they feel they have been robbed of another layer of legitimacy.

Excercising their right to opt out of the deal they signed yesterday morning, the Italian authorities have confirmed that the ports of the peninsula will remain closed to all non-governmental organisations for the rest of the summer. Not only will rescue vessels continue to be prevented from disembarking those saved at sea, they will be refused permission to refuel or take on provisions.

And the explanation for this exclusion? According to Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, the non-governmental aid organisations are simply encouraging the people smugglers by doing most of their work for them.

Conservative daily Le Figaro points out that the brand new deal is already under pressure.

The right-wing paper says the outward solidarity of the European Union was maintained, but at the price of a clear agreement with precise obligations. It will be difficult, says Le Figaro, to put this week's deal into operation.

Europe is clearly still some distance from a real solution to the migrant crisis.

Fake blood, real news

Are French vegans and vegetarians becoming violent?

The question is inspired by a report in Le Monde about a series of attacks targeting butchers and fishmongers. Last year over 100 such outlets were covered in slogans written in fake blood or had their windows smashed.

The northern city of Lille has recently seen a spectacular number of such attacks, but it's a nationwide phenomenon and it's on the increase acording to the French butchers' confederation.

The same confederation says the activists are attacking the wrong places. "They should go to the abattoirs," says a spokesman. "There are no animals in our shops. We sell meat."

Even moderate vegans are worried by the attacks, Le Monde reports, saying such activities do not serve the cause of animal rights, which has become increasingly visible but risks a negative image shift because of the violence of some hard-liners.

Well done, Laurent!

And our congratulations to a young man named Laurent, from the Belgian city of Ostend. Laurent has an IQ of 145 (anything beyond 130 is exceptional) and has just obtained the Secondary Studies Diploma with flying colours. His favourite subject is maths. He now wants to study engineering. Laurent is eight years old.

Here in France the youngest candidate to sit the school-leaving Bac exams this year was a positively ancient 11 years and 10 months.