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France

French press review 28 January 2017

media

Well the French papers have eased up a little from so-called 'Penelope-gate' - the ongoing payments scandal engulfing French conservative presidential frontrunner François Fillon, and his wife - to focus on Donald Trump. Pretty much across the board.

The US President has announced tough new measures to sieve Islamist terrorists out of the US. Naturally with the line of jihadist offensives France has suffered over the past couple of years, along with its European neighbours, the French papers are taking note of any moves to toughen up border controls.

Trump migrant decree

Right-winged Le Figaro says the immigration decree passed yesterday will stop the entry of "radical Islamic terrorists" at the borders. Under it American authorities will block the arrival of nationals from seven Muslim countries including Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for a month.

It will also it adds pave the way for the suspension for at least four months of a federal program for the admission and resettlement of refugees from countries at war. "An ambitious humanitarian program created by Congress in 1980."

Now Syrian refugees - 18,000 of whom have entered the US since 2011 - will be completely banned.

Unlike the Obama administration says Le Figaro, which recognized it could do more, and set the goal of 110,000 refugees for 2017, Trump's target is only 50,000, ringing true to his election platform of '"nationalist, isolationist and anti-radical Islamic terrorism campaign slogans".

Diplomacy à la Trump

Le Monde continues on the Trump theme though sticking more to his defence policy, and claiming in its headline "Donald Trump is setting up a diplomacy of defiance".

That's the view of sociologist and political scientist Marie-Cécile Naves, who says in a week at the White House, the US President has taken many steps in foreign policy, but his policy lacks long-term vision.

Le Monde notes the billionaire has been "active and provocative" during the first days of his mandate ... “launching a decree for the construction of the wall at the Mexican border, abandoning the vital Trans-Pacific Partnership global trade deal (TPP) and threatening the UN and the European Union.”

But for Naves - a researcher from the Institute of International and Strategic Relations at Paris-Dauphine University - Trump's manoeuvres are no more than short-sighted, somewhat spectacular "glass shattering" statements.

Sure Trump wants to make his mark she says, but his decisions so far are out of step with Republican tradition, "of neo-conservatism and realism, in economic and diplomatic matters".

Instead he's focusing on being an image maker - a showman - rather than solid long-term policy. And those tactics too she concludes are in line with his business ones ... "punching the table, striking the commercial deal, and bluff."

A new side to Penelope-gate
 
Le Parisien too is totally Trumpified in its coverage, but is also running a poll on François Fillon - can he survive?

On top of the questions (and the media storm), about payments to his wife for parliamentary work, the right-wing presidential candidate confirmed in a television interview on Thursday night that he had paid salaries to two of his "children who were lawyers" when he was a senator.

But the paper claims, the two were still law students at the time of those missions.

A contradiction which is sure to fire the debate over coming days, with Fillon saying he will drop out of the presidential race if he is criminally investigated.
 

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