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French press review 19 June 2018


France and Germany attempt to find a common position on immigration before this month's European summit. US President Donald Trump wants America to dominate space. And Italy wants to get rid of its Roma population.

France and Germany share the front-page honours this morning. This is because the leaders of the two nations are reported to be working closely to prepare a common position before the European summit at the end of this month.

There's plenty to be done.

Le Monde warns that the cohesion of the entire European Union is threatened by the immigration crisis.

Greece looks as if it's reaching the end of the tunnel, with the third European rescue plan due to finish next month, thus bringing eight years of austerity to an end with a golden handshake worth about 20 billion euros. But the new Italian government is getting fidgity, and is likely to be the next headache for Brussels.

And the Greek economy may be upright, but is not yet in the whole of its health. Athens currently owes 178 per cent of what the country can produce in a year.

Is illegal immigration the end of Europe?

Right-wing daily Le Figaro also looks at the European scenario, warning that the migration crisis is the dead weight holding back Franco-German plans to get Europe moving again.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces an internal revolt with her interior minister warning that the country will soon be obliged to expel all asylum seekers to the European countries where they were first registered. That is unlikely to encourage the Greek and Italian authorities, for example, to go on registering migrants.

Trump boldly goes beyond the final frontier

President Donald Trump yesterday created a sixth branch of the US army, with a view to ensuring American domination of outer space.

If it was April Fool's Day, you'd think I was making it up!

Trump yesterday told the National Space Council that a simple American presence was not sufficient. "What we need is US domination." And so he has promised to create a space force, distinct from but with equal importance to, the current air force. It will, according to the US leader, make the Pentagon, the headquarters of the American military machine, more efficient.

The air force, which currently looks after everything including the Universe, is unhappy at the prospect of losing its galactic responsibilities. "This is a step in the wrong direction," says General David Goldfein, chief of staff of the US air force.

Congress remains divided on the question.

Trump probably doesn't know it, but the US is a signatory of the 1967 Space Treaty which prohibits the militarisation of space and the heavenly bodies.

The president has already re-launched the US space programmes to the Moon and to Mars. He has asked for a review of legislation covering commercial space flight.

Italy to count its Roma population

Having shown a determination to refuse any more migrants, Italy's new interior minister has now turned his attention to the country's Roma population.

According to a report in Le Monde, Matteo Salvini, from the far-right segment of the Italian governing coalition, has ordered the authorities in Rome to carry out a census of Italy's Roma people, with a view to expelling all who can be shown to be in Italy illegally.

Speaking on television, Salvini regretted that the government would not be able to expell Roma people of Italian origin. "Unfortunately, we'll have to keep them," said the minister.

Tens of thousands of Roma travellers live in Italy, most of them in shanty towns on the fringes of the big cities.

The centre-left Democrat Party has led criticism of the proposals, describing the campaign against the Roma as "ethnic cleansing".

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