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What the papers said 15 June 2018

rfi English, Jun 15

President Macron faces charges of hypocrisy as he is locked in a diplomatic war with Italy over the Aquarius loaded with rescued migrants; and football star pin-ups.

The week-long drift of the Aquarius, transporting more than 600 migrants rescued off the coast of Libya, continues to generate angry reactions from the commentators even as Spanish authorities offered to welcome the ship in Valencia.

This, after Italy and Malta refused to allow it to dock at their ports last weekend.

Le Figaro describes the Aquarius crisis as a sad allegory of European gridlock, as the EU nations keep passing responsibilities back and forth, like ships docking from one port to the other.

According to the conservative publication what the EU has on display is a trail of missed opportunities and unmet promises.

The paper says that Europe must find a way to preserve the asylum rights of real refugees, to crack down, “with a reasonable degree of decency”, on economic migrants, police Europe's frontiers and then draft an ambitious European plan for cooperation and development with upstream African countries.

For le Figaro while it will be hard and costly to implement such a plan, there needs to be powerful and urgent gesture to prove Europe's determination to resolve the crisis.

L'Humanité for its part takes up the controversy between Rome and Paris sparked by President Macron's accusations that the new authorities in Rome showed proof of their cynicism and irresponsibility by turning away the Aquarius as it approached the coast of the Italian island of Sardinia.

The Communist daily says the standoff between Macron and Italy's populist Premier is nothing more than a scuffle in the mud between two hypocrites. The daily accused the French President of “shamefully shifting the burden on Spain while washing his dirty hands.

According to l'Humanité, Europe will not halt the rise of right-wing extremism by kneeling down of looking away but through a new democratic mindset about making the sub-continent a human community.

Liberation is still fuming about the video clip released by the Elysée communications office in which President Macron grumbles about the crazy amount of cash spent on social security which he noted hasn’t stopped the poor from being poor.

The left-leaning newspaper says the clearly "staged comments" constituted proof that Macron has not only fallen in love with Donald Trump's twitting addiction, but also to American best practices in labour matters as he manoeuvres to dismantle the French culture of national solidarity.

Pin-up stars

French striker Kilian Mbappe is the pin-up star in today's L'Equipe. The sports daily is betting on the impatient 18 year-old to start his first World Cup against Australia on Saturday with a bang. L'Equipe is confident that he will help "les Bleus" follow the example set by World Cup hosts Russia who undertook a 5-Nil drubbing of Saudi Arabia in their opening match.

According to Le Monde, after 4 years of hectic FIFA dealings that had little to do with the sport proper, now is the time for the game, to the pleasure of 4 billion fans who will be watching the competition around the world from Paris to Beijing and from the slums of Lagos to the favelas in Rio, football-mad there expected to swap their shirts for Messi, Ronaldo or Neymar jerseys.

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