Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/29 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/29 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/29 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/29 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/29 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/29 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/29 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/29 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/29 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/29 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 08/28 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/29 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 08/28 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/29 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/29 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/29 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 08/28 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 08/29 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 08/28 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/29 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 08/28 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
France

French press review 20 February 2016

media DR

David Cameron has graciously accepted Europe's climbdown on whether the Old Continent can remain in Britain. The French papers rake over the coals of a compromise that may compromise the entire European experiment. There's nothing to stop other countries from organising their own referendums.

Right-wing Le Figaro ironically suggests that the British prime minister has effectively enrolled the services of the European Union in his armwrestling campaign against the continental body. Cameron will now campaign to have the UK remain in the union when the question is put to a referendum, due to be held sometime next year.

He has certainly squeezed a few mighty concessions from the trading partners, at least two of the bits of bending over backwards to keep the Brits in requiring the modification of existing European treaties.

For example, the United Kingdom will be exempt from the EU objective of achieving greater closeness between the people of Europe. And Cameron has got the 27 other heads of state to agree that the UK and other EU countries which are not part of the single-currency eurozone will be able to negotiate their own economic and financial deal with Europe.

Among the implications of last night's deal, says conservative Le Figaro, are the fact that London will not be obliged to treat European workers as they would be treated in other EU countries, refusing them in-work benefits parity with British nationals until they have stayed for four years.

To meet Cameron's demands, child benefit rights will be changed for everyone in Europe from 2020, immediately for new claimants.

In the most opaque and potentially problematic part of the deal, London retains the right to take the action necessary to preserve financial stability, without prejudice to the European Union's right to take action to do the same thing. Except that, as we've seen, the interests of London and the European partners do not always coincide, in which case the rule will continue to be every man, woman and child for himself, and Brits first.

Le Figaro's editorial on the Cameron-induced collapse of the spirit of Europe says that optimists will be satisfied, realists at best sceptical, if not downright angry. The fact is, laments Le Figaro, that the City of London dominates European finance and we simply can't get along, even badly, without them. The editorial is significantly headlined "The kiss of death".

Left-leaning Libération says a deal has indeed been reached but they put the word "deal" in inverted commas to indicate that they think the whole thing is a bit fishy.

Libé says only the sharpest legal experts will be in a position to understand the details of the compromise but that supporters of a strong and united Europe will see the concessions to London as a dangerous precedent.

There is now nothing to stop other member states from organising their own referendums because they reject, say, European policy on refugees. Worse, suggests Libération, last night's deal won't necessarily soothe the spirits of those Eurosceptical subjects of Her Majesty the Queen who feel that the English Channel is neither sufficiently wide nor deep.

"Let Europe be towed even further away from our white cliffs," they intone. They should have been told what to do with their white cliffs, says the French Euro-MP, Dominique Riquet. "If they don't want to be in, let them get out," he says with a certain Cartesian edge.

Of course, as they point out at length in Libé, the real tragedy of the past two days of carefully stage-managed diplomatic drama and Cameronian hysterical crisis, is that Europe continues to fail the thousands of refugees hammering at its southern and eastern borders, is petrified in the face of terrorism and incapable of getting its lumbering (or slumbering) economy back on its knees, much less its feet.

It's yet another sad example, says Libération, of London's 40-year tradition of having its suits made to measure in Europe.

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.