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Inside France: Toppling governments, mid-life crises and Tapie

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Inside France: Toppling governments, mid-life crises and Tapie
Marseille's football fans hold banners with the portrait former club President, Bernard Tapie, during celebrations for the 30th anniversary of Olympique de Marseille's victory in the European Champions League Cup in May 2023. Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP

From the unlikely political storm on the horizon for France to celebrity messages, via the life of a 'swashbuckling' Frenchman, our weekly newsletter Inside France looks at what we have been talking about in France this week.

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Inside France is our weekly look at some of the news, talking points and gossip in France that you might not have heard about. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it directly to their inbox, by going to their newsletter preferences or adding their email to the sign-up box in this article.

Storm brewing

It's been literally weeks since France had a political drama (the pension bill, which led to widespread strikes, protests and stuff on fire in the streets) but now the stage looks set for another one.

This time it's over a proposed change to immigration law proposed by Emmanuel Macron's interior minister Gérald Darmanin.

The thing that will really strike you when you first read this bill is how little of substance there is in it - this is no radical piece of legislation, it's really just tinkering around the edges with proposals to streamline the process of expelling failed asylum seekers while granting a limited amnesty to undocumented workers in certain sectors.

It seems unlikely fodder for a crisis, but already we're discussing whether this bill will bring down Elisabeth Borne's government. The context, of course, is the parliamentary deadlock that has been in place since last summer - in order to get this bill passed the government needs to either get the support of some opposition MPs or resort (again) to forcing it through parliament using Article 49.3.

The problem is that both the left and the right are infuriated with the bill - the right because of that proposal for an amnesty for undocumented workers and the left because the amnesty does not go far enough. Without their support, the government will either face a humiliating withdrawal of the bill or having to use Article 49.3 - which carries with it the risk of a vote of no confidence in the government.

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It all feels like a case of Beaucoup de bruit pour rien (as the French title Shakespeare's play Much Ado about Nothing). 

Malotru moment 

It's good to hear that French actor and director Matthieu Kassovitz is on the mend after a serious motorbike crash. A rather dishevelled looking Kassovitz recorded this video from his hospital bed - showing off his pinned leg and reassuring fans that he is fine.

I particularly enjoyed the brutal honesty of his explanation for the crash, after admitting that he was showing off in front of his daughter he added: J'ai 56 ans, il faut peut-être que j'arrête d'être un connard - I'm 56, perhaps it's time to stop acting like a dick. 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Mathkasso (@mathkasso)

 

I'm also highly intrigued by his next project - a musical version of his cult 1995 film La Haine, which is due to hit Paris theatres next year. 

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Franco-German alliance

And the Talking France podcast went international this week - with a special guest joining us from Berlin to talk trains. We had a rather lovely train geek-out, before moving on to the subject of that immigration bill, Alpine tourism, how to get a property bargain and the swashbuckling life of French business tycoon Bernard Tapie. Listen here or on the link below.

 

TV recommendation

Speaking of Tapie, if you're looking for a new Netflix series - this seven-part drama on the life of Tapie would fill a few evenings. 

 

Inside France is our weekly look at some of the news, talking points and gossip in France that you might not have heard about. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it directly to their inbox, by going to their newsletter preferences or adding their email to the sign-up box in this article.

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