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French press review 22 June 2018


President Macron draws a wave of scorn with plan to build a swiming pool at sea-side official holiday residence.


We begin with Le Parisien's alarm bells about the continuing migrants' tragedy in the high seas after 200 more bodies washed up at the shores of the Mediterranean over the past 48 hours.

The paper quotes the UN High Commission for Refugees as warning that the sea just to the south of Europe has become the most deadly migratory route in the world with more than a thousand people mostly from Libya having drowned since January while trying to reach Europe.

Le Parisien however quotes the UN agency as having recorded a lull in the death toll between January and April as against the same period last year explaining that generally refugees seeking to cross from Africa to the old continent often undertook the perilous journey in the summer  a season favourable for navigation in the high seas.

News of the tragedy broke as leaders of ten EU countries including Germany and France held crisis talks on migration in Brussels on Sunday to try to find answers ahead of a major summit next week.

As the regional L’Union newspaper observes, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia didn't turn up for the meeting, a decision the paper describes as an expression of the "intransigent greed"  of those who have forgotten where they come from as well as those who aided them. According to L’Union, this is just the right moment for someone to remind them of the facts.

L'Humanité says that while French President Emmanuel Macron staged a show of humanity at the meeting, backing a return of migrants to EU arrival states, and the setting up of setting up of "disembarkation platforms" outside the bloc to process migrants, the reality of his policies is different.

As it points out in 2016 France welcomed only 50 refugees for every 10,000 inhabitants against 117 for Germany, 243 for Sweden, proportionately. According to the Communist daily French citizens need to be worried while watching the erosion of universal values that triumphed during the darkest moments of human history.

For Éclair des Pyrénées the migratory crisis has simply come to amplify the odyssey of the Aquarius which has put to question the solidarity of EU countries gangrened by the translation of discontent against government inaction into populism.

Revelations that President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte want to construct a swimming pool at the 13th Century Fort de Brégançon summer residence, has sparked a wave of indignation across France. This , as the project comes just days after his outcry about the crazy amounts of dough spent on social security.

Le Parisien says the first people cracking little jokes about the affair are from Macron's inner circle, one of them suggesting that it is better to laugh about it in order not to drown in the pool.

Swimming pools are an ostentatious display of wealth, just like convertible cars explains another noting that had he been in Macron’s shoes, he would just have turned the residence into Macron’s Le Fouquet’s..

L' Est Républicain says just the idea of a public-funded pool just off the seaside castle marks a return to the blind extravagance of the Sarkozy days and demonstrates just how out of touch Macron is with French realities.

According to the newspaper while nobody would blame Macron nicknamed Jupiter for trying to restore the grandeur of France's highest office, there is a question that ought to serve as a warning to him:  could it be that he has been carried away by the glamour of his office to the point where he feels like locking himself up in an ivory tower?

For Midi Libre lists what it believes is a growing string of Macron's blunders -- the extravagant Christmas party he threw at the Elysée and the acquisition of brand new crockery for official banquets, to say the least. According to the Midi newspaper, it is such blind appetite for glamour that ruined the presidencies of Macron's two predecessors, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande and left them struggling in vain during their time in office to quell the resulting controversies and correct their images.

One thing Emmanuel Macron should never forget it warns is to always bear in mind that in France everything is about symbols something the French are quite sensitive about. As the publication observes, when that symbol is financial it ends up irritating voters, which President Macron should never forget.

And l'Equipe enjoys the flavour of France's performance at the football World Cup in Russia after their 1-Nil victory over Peru in Yekaterinburg Thursday to progress to the last 16 in the competition. Paris Saint Germain star Kylian Mbappe aged 19 who tapped into an empty net is the pin up star in today's issue of the sports daily as he became the youngest French goal scorer at a World Cup.

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