A Week in France / October 20: Deportations and the End of a Scandal

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski for flickr

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski for flickr

Every Sunday, La Jeune Politique looks back on the events that made the news in the past week, giving you the chance to catch up on the articles you missed and more.

Tuesday, October 8

Charges against former French President Nicolas Sarkozy connected to his alleged involvement in the Bettencourt scandal have been dropped by a Bordeaux court. Sarkozy was put under investigation this past March following accusations that he exploited L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt’s age and failing health in order to garner funds for his 2007 presidential campaign. Bettencourt — whose personal assets are estimated at…

Manuel Valls, Minister of the Interior and one of France’s leading Parti socialiste (PS) politicians, is back in the domestic headlines this past week, although for reasons other than the purely political. Still in the public eye for polemical comments made over Roma settlements in late September, Valls has continued grab media attention by way of aggressive attacks on his party’s opposition, and most recently – and bizarrely – through his sex appeal. According to a poll taken by IFOP, 20 per cent of women aged 20 to 40 would have a “torrid…

Sunday, October 13

France’s current generation of nuclear power plants may keep running for a while longer, with conflicting reports suggesting that the French government has authorized an extension of plants’ active lifespan from 40 to 50 years. Government officials, however, have denied that any such decision has been reached, and safety regulators have said that they were not consulted on the matter. Nuclear power, despite its low greenhouse gas emissions, is an absolute bête noire for many environmentalists…

Monday, October 14

The Front national (FN), France’s far-right party, saw a solidification of recent poll ratings in a by-election this past Sunday, bringing FN candidate Laurent Lopez into power in cantonal elections in Brignoles, in the southeast of France. The by-elections at Brignoles solidified the trend that the FN had previously only seen in numbers, with the FN candidate winning…

Wednesday, October 16

On October 16, a French court reaffirmed a ruling finding the two main institutions of the Church of Scientology in France, the SEL Bookstore and its Celebrity Center, guilty of organized fraud. Four years after a similar decision, both were charged and will respectively pay €200,000 and €400,000 – more than $270,000 and $540,000. According to this series of judgments, leading members of the Church of Scientology took advantage of several constituents. Indeed, many organizations considered religions in the United States are viewed as dangerous cults…

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius announced on September 24 France’s opposition to the expansion of the Schengen area to include Bulgaria and Romania. Both countries, which entered the European Union in 2007, have officially integrated into the EU and have met all preconditions set by the Schengen agreement to become a part of this passport free area. As of January 1, 2014, Bulgarians and Romanians will have freedom of movement…

Thursday, October 17

The streets of Paris were the scene of great disruption on Thursday, October 17, as high school students protested the expulsion of Roma school children, Leonarda (15) and Katchik (19). Both students belonged to families of illegal Roma immigrants, and their deportations were a result of the ongoing effort to dismantle Roma camps in a pan-European crackdown on illegal immigration. The deportation initiative, started by the center-right party of Nicolas Sarkozy, continues to be enforced by the current socialist government. Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls has received the majority of the political backlash…

Next week on La Jeune Politique:

The debate over immigration continues after the Lampedusa tragedy in Italy and the protest following young Kosovar Leonarda expulsion from France. The Pensions Bill has passed the National Assembly without raising massive popular protests, France is sending troops to Central African Republic to maintain peace, and a success for French bookshops against the Internet giants. And of course, the latest news as it develops.

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