Tag Archives: Emmanuel Macron

France: tribute to Africans soldiers

Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the Second World War heroes of the landing in Provence on August 15, 1944, a majority of African soldiers who wrote this “crucial page” of the history of France, imprinted it with “freedom and dignity“. African participation amounted up to a half  of the French contingent, indigenous soldiers from what are now some two dozen independent countries.

France has a part of Africa in it and on the soil of this Provence, this part was that of bloodshed”, Macron said during his visit to Saint-Raphaël (Var). Alongside President Guinean Alpha Condé and his counterpart from Cote d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara, French head of state laid a wreath in honor of died of this battle.

Emmanuel Macron has called on the mayors of France to “bring to life” the memory of African soldiers who fell in battle during the Second World War by giving their names to streets and squares, because the African fighters have not had the “glory and esteem that their bravery deserved”.

We will never forget anything or anyone;” he said. “This is a crucial page in our history,” he added. “You have restored our country’s freedom and dignity.”

Two months after the landing of Normandy, 250,000 men of the French army, supported by more than 120,000 soldiers of the Allied forces, land on the shores of Provence.

A military choir sang “The Song of the Africans,” while some veterans chanted with them. Fighter jets flew over the necropolis, trailing blue, white and red smoke to represent the French flag.

The former President of the Republic Nicolas Sarkozy appeared among the invited by Emmanuel Macron to the ceremony 75th anniversary of the landing of Provence in Saint-Raphael, in the Var.

Armistice: in memory of colonial troops

The Beninese artist Angélique Kidjo sang in memory of the colonial troops, during a grand Armistice commemoration ceremony  in Paris a few days after the homage paid by Emmanuel Macron and the Mali president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in Reims to the 200,000 soldiers of the “black force” engaged in the First World War.

Taking place in rain at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, the moving ceremony was opened by “Sarabande” of Bach interpreted by the American cellist Yo-Yo Ma and concluded by the Ravel bolero played by the youth orchestra of the European Union.

In front of a crowd of leaders gathered under a tent, high school students read, in different languages, testimonies of the fighters of the “Great War” which mobilized 70 million soldiers, made 10 million dead and 20 million wounded among the combatants.

On  November, 7 President Macron honoured the fromer  colonial troops who fought alongside the French with Mali‘s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in Reims, a city defended by the African soldiers.

 

EU asylum reform imminent

According to French President Emmanuel Macron, the EU lacks solidarity and efficiency concerning migration. He underlined that the European borders must have better protection, whereas the mechanism of granting asylum must be unified. French president further pointed out that Europe’s response to migration crisis was outdated and reform was needed.

The meeting between the new Italian Prime minister Giuseppe Conte and the French president was jeopardized by a war of words following Rome’s decision to repel vessel #Aquarius carrying some 600 illegal migrants rescued in the Mediterranean.

During the press conference after the meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, French President Emmanuel Macron noted that talks of “axis” countries on migration are a reminder of “Europe’s unfortunate past history,” referring to the earlier remarks of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz that German, Austrian and Italian interior ministers form “axis” against illegal immigration.

As a possibility Macron and Conte offered to establish asylum processing centres in Africa, to prevent people risking their lives when crossing Mediterranean.

Libya conference in Paris

This week the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini attended the International Conference on Libya organised in Paris, the event aims to support the United Nations ongoing work to forge a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya and implement the UN action plan.

The European Union continues to encourage and accompany the political process in Libya under the lead provided by the United Nations, including within the Libya Quartet together with the African Union and the League of Arab States.

The diplomat  had a number of bilateral meetings in the margins of the conference. In the afternoon, the same day Mogherini addressed  the situation in Libya at the plenary meeting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The Paris meeting, included eastern Libya leader Marechal Khalifa Haftar, backed by Tobruk Parliament; Tripoli Prime minister Fayez el-Sarraj, backed by the UN, and the leaders of rival parliamentary assemblies, aimed to urge them to agree general principles for ending the conflict and moving towards elections.

Although there were signatures, the conference was concluded by a statement, fixing elections on December, 10, however there should be a legal framework adopted mid-September.

“The parties have committed to set the constitutional basis for elections and adopt the necessary electoral laws by September 16, 2018 and hold Parliamentary and Presidential elections on December 10, 2018,” the statement said.

Macron launches Slavery Remembrance Foundation

Emmanuel Macron announced his support to the project of Slavery Remembrance Foundation, responsible in particular for education and cultural missions, and the commitment of the V Republic to the abolition of slavery throughout the world.

As conceived  by his predecessor President Francois Hollande  the Foundation will be chaired by former Socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who has been carrying on the idea of the project, and will be housed at the Hôtel de la Marine, where the abolition of slavery was decreed on April 27 1848.

The Foundation will also help to put slavery back into the long history of France, from the first French colonial empire to the present day,” writes the French President Emmanuel Macron in a statement published on the occasion of the 170th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

“Because it is impossible to speak of today’s France without mentioning its colonial past, without saying in particular the unique relationship it has with the African continent, this complex and profound relationship which has become an inalienable part of our identities,” the President continued. Emmanuel Macron added that he supports the project of erecting a national memorial to pay tribute to the victims of slavery in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris.

The project is a continuation of the initiative of President Francois Hollande who chaired the signature ceremony for the statutes of the “public interest grouping that will prefigure the foundation”  at the Elysée Palace on 3 May 2017. Hollande also declared that it  headquarters would be at the Hôtel de la Marine, the very place where Victor Schoelcher signed the decree to abolish slavery.

The French Republic recognized slavery and the slave trade as a crime against humanity first time in 1794, when legally the slavery was described as a “crime of lese-humanity”. On 23 May 1998 thousands of descendants of slaves organised a demonstration in Paris to demand this recognition. The movement continued, and it was enshrined by the act of 21 May 2001, named the ‘Taubira law’. The Republic then officially recognized slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity.

 

 

EU responds to migrant crisis with investments in Africa

“Our friends in Africa have long told us “the cause is poverty” – said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini, addressing Paris ‘mini-summit’ on mass migration.

“… We do not need to invent a new Marshall Plan, we already have a European plan that is in the field, which is in action and that certainly can be used by all Europeans, by all Africans in an even more effective way” – Mogherini continued.

“In the coming days, we will also launch a private investment plan supported by the European Commission, which will be able to mobilize up to € 44 billion in private investment in Africa for economic development. € 2 billion of projects related to the immigration sector have already been approved and are being implemented under the Trust Fund which was created at the top of Valletta, of which € 1 billion is for the Sahel countries alone. € 100 million from the European Union to fund the centers of the International Migration Organization in 14 African countries including Nigeria, Chad and Libya”

The European Union and the EU Member States together invest € 20 billion a year in Africa in a number of areas, from development cooperation, private investment, humanitarian, to work on peace and security.

 

Killing wolves: En Marche! to Middle Ages

Anna van Densky, OPINION.

The presidency of Emmanuel Macron has been ‘inaugurated’ in a Middle Ages tradition of killing ‘evil’ wolves. Difficult to imagine that it can happen in France of the 21 century, when progressive humanity is increasingly concerned by ecological catastrophe of destruction of ecosystems, and extinction of rare species.

The ‘licence to kill’ has been granted by Nicolas Hulot, the Minister of Ecological Transition (‘transition’ where to?..), and a magnificent young wolf was shot by a hunter in Savoy, as if French have no other entertainments in Digital Age then to retreat in Neanderthals pleasures depriving sensuous beings of life. It is still unclear why a new French government gave up to the darkest instincts of hunters, instead of implementing protection of endangered species programme in line with the EU Lisbon Treaty, directly supportive of animal welfare. The ‘collaterals’ of the killings of the such masterpieces of nature as wolves result in spotting the government’s image with blood stains of innocent victims.

Although less and less numerous in France, the hunters are still well-organized, and rich. Conscious of unfavorable public opinion,  they devote a great attention to lobby of their passion to kill, reaching the highest levels of power. This minority of less than 2% of the French dictates its law to the majority. The hunting lobby influence reaches the National Assembly and the Senate, where they are supported by 250 parliamentarians, continuing to vote in favor of hunting. 250 parliamentarians supporting just 2% of the French demonstrates the power of hunter’s lobby, and the flaws of the political system, acting in a total neglect of the opinion of the majority of French citizens, negative towards hunting as exercise in cruelty, incompatible  with modern ideas of nature conservation.

This week the killed young  wolf  joined the ‘cemetery’ of 38 corpses exterminated  in France under the levy quota for the period from July 2016 to 30 June 2017.
Cap Loup, a collective of associations for the protection of the wolf in France, had spoken out against this decision.

The Cap Loup is supported by the other animal protection associations. The Foundation of Brigitte Bardot was eloquent in reacting on the wolf killings.

“The wolf is a protected specie, but in France it is the scapegoat of all evils” – said Christophe Marie, representing Foundation Bardot. He lamented the disgrace of killings, and the prejudice against the wolves, caused by ignorance.  Recent statements of the mayor of Artigues is an  illustration of this approach, the politician accused a wolf of being a cause for the violent fires that currently ravage the south of France in Var province. “Even a legendary fairy-tale author Perrault would not try it!” – Marie ironises.

“The Brigitte Bardot Foundation finances methods of protecting herds which have proved their effectiveness, yet Nicolas Hulot refuses to receive us to talk about. The urgency is to stop this war against nature which is only victims and no winner, Nicolas Hulot has aroused hopes, since taking office, but causes only disappointment and despair” – Marie underlined.

Respectful of the Bardot Foundation initiative to protect herds against the wolves, one should keep in mind, that they are not ‘evil’ wolves, but hunters who on average kill 30 million species a year, according to French National office of hunting and wild fauna (ONCFS). Among them: 57 044 deers; 551 055 roe deers; 585 587 wild bores. What a massacre! Some stuck in Middle Ages in their minds…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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