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Emmanuel Macron France Press review Immigration Brexit

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French press review 2 October 2018


The front-page honours this morning all go to Charles Aznavour, a giant of French popular entertainment who died early on Monday morning at the age of 94.

Le Monde laments the death of a pioneer in the mixing of musical styles.

Le Figaro simply and stylishly salutes a talent which the paper says was "Formidable!"

The right-wing daily's editorial says we had begun to feel that Charles Aznavour was immortal and that he may well turn out to be just that, such is his impact on the world of popular music.

Le Figaro is unable to resist the opportunity to present this son of an immigrant Armenian family as a paragon of integration. The editorial quotes the singer as saying "I left behind most of my Armenian background to become French . . . You have to do that. Or else you should leave."

A separate article in the same paper tells us that the French loved Aznavour because he loved France. A more likely explanation is that the French loved the man for his music. But let's not be simplistic.

Libération's main headline reads "Only yesterday," the title of another of his classic songs and a reference to the fact that Aznavour was still publicly active despite his 94 years. He had just returned from a tour of Japan and had concerts lined up in Brussels and Paris. He gave a long interview on prime-time French TV only last Friday.

Europeans are migrants too, May

As Brexit, the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Community, approaches, British Prime Minister Theresa May has been warning Europeans that they will be treated like any and every other migrant after the fateful date, 29 March 2019, when the continent is finally cut adrift.

May's immigration watchdogs will give priority to the highly qualified. The days of free movement are over. What will matter are the abilities of those who apply to enter the UK, not their countries of origin.

May believes that such a policy will reduce the number of immigrants from the 273,000 counted in 2016 to a "manageable" 100,000 each year.

Minister resigns, president refuses

French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb resigned yesterday, but the president refused to let him go, right-wing Le Figaro reports.

We've known since the middle of last month that Collomb was going to leave. He wants to be free to concentrate on getting back his old job as mayor of the city of Lyon. His departure was presented by critics of the Macron regime as yet another proof of the dilution of the early ideals that led to the formation of the France on the Move party and Macron's electoral success.

By refusing the resignation of one of the founding forces of his political movement, Macron has, according to Le Figaro, cut the ground from under those who have attempted to use Collomb's departure to further destabilise a president already suffering in the opinion polls in the wake of some earlier defections, most notably that of Nicolas Hulot, the jolly green giant who slammed the door of the environment and energy ministry earlier this summer.

Mélenchon accused of turning his back

Back to Libération and criticism of hard-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon for his refusal to sign a manifesto calling for a proper welcome for migrants.

The leader of the France Unbowed party says he doesn't want immigration to become the centre of the debate in the lead-in to the forthcoming European elections.

Mélenchon says that, if the European campaign is dominated by the immigration question, it will result in another straight face-off between the anti-migrant far right of Marine Le Pen and the uncertain centre of Emmanuel Macron. That, says Mélenchon, is a trap into which he will not fall.

Perhaps, suggests Libé, he's fallen into an even worse one, since a decent place for migrants should be at the heart of left-wing policies, not pushed to the fringe by petty electoral concerns.