NEWS AND VIEWS OF FRANCE IN ENGLISH
Issue N° 2: August 6-12, 2010
For or against, a look at the economic realities which have led to France’s choice of power generation.
PHOTO ©THE CENSUS FOUNDATION
DEAUVILLE SALES Why so many foreign racehorse owners run French-breds Page 10
Lemaitre lives up to his name French athletes compensate for World Cup football humiliation
rench sporting morale has recovered with a record tally of 18 medals – eight gold – at the European Athletics Championshiops in Barcelona. The new French hero is Christophe Lemaitre who won three gold medals, in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay race. He is the only Frenchman ever to win all three medals in one competition. Still only 20 years old, Lemaitre was the first white athlete in the world to break the mythical 10-second barrier over 100m. His racing partner Martial Mbandjock hoovered up the leftovers, winning bronze in the same
sprints and gold as part of the relay quartet. Lemaitre has all the ingredients for sporting stardom - youth, enthusiasm, an engaging personality and the ability to snatch victory from seemingly inevitable defeat as he did in the final of the 200m. With this he combines a fairy-tale story of hidden talent accidentally spotted only five years ago at the modest sports fête at Belley (population 8,500), in the Rhône-Alpes. Pole vaulting has a strong following in France and preChampionship favourite Renauld Lavillenie duly won gold.
Let them eat corpses The EU is trying to wheedle fodder from animal carcases back into the human food chain. Only some farmers and suppliers are happy
ad cow disease is a thing of the past, says the EU – well almost. There were only 67 cases in 2009 compared with 37,320 in 1992. Now the Brussels Commission wants to reintroduce fodder made from dead animals – farine animale – under strict control, of course. The fodder would not be allowed for grass eaters. Omnivores like pigs would not be allowed to eat dead pigs, only dead chickens, and vice versa. The enforced slaughter of animals in a contaminated herd is to be less draconian and the restrictions on the parts of animals banned for
consumption would be partially lifted to bring Europe into line with the more relaxed World Trade Organisation limits. Cattle fodder made from dead animals brought us mad cow disease and, for 200 humans, death from Creutzfeldt Jacob disease. Its use was totally banned in the European Union in the 1990s. After this, it is hard to find anyone who thinks the proposed relaxing of the ban is safe, apart from representatives of the farming industry. Pekka Pesonen, secretary of the European farmers’ union Copa-Cogeca, said that it was “urgent”. What worries farmers is
the rise by up to 100% of international fodder prices. The French food hygiene authority Afssa thinks enforcement will be tricky; it summed up the problem with a big ‘but’: there is no risk of BSE for pigs and poultry but there is a danger of crosscontamination on a mixed farm; cannibalism has to be avoided at all costs. Ecologist and MEP José Bové went further: “If the EU reauthorises farine animale on a country-by-country basis then we might find it here even if France does not authorise it. We have already had cases of big British
Romain Barras won gold in the decathlon, carrying on a long tradition of strong French performances in the discipline. British athletes were as successful overall, winning 19 medals, six gold, and setting a benchmark of achievement for the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London. Almost as reassuring for longsuffering French sports fans was the news this week that the French under-19 football team – Les Bleuets – won the junior Football World Cup, particularly since they beat the Spanish, winners of the senior event, in the final. UA producers shipping to France via Belgium, Holland and Spain.” Bové noted that Brussels is quick to give way to businesses which do not know what to do with their waste animal products but not as quick to take political decisions to protect consumers. “What we have to do,” said Bové, “is to abandon the Blair House agreement of 1993 which allowed the import of US soya without import duty and reduced subsidies on the European equivalent – basically rapeseed.” When he put this to Commission President José-Manuel Barroso, “he threw a fit” and swore he would never go back on the agreement which took seven years to negotiate and involved 117 countries. A lively battle in the European Parliament is expected after the holidays.
France has a wealth of flora and fauna but some are in danger of disappearing Pages 8-9 THIS FRENCH Week
Sarkozy checks out his 2 realm TRAVELLERS Recent riots spark talk of expulsions 6 MONEY Inheritance advice for multiple marriages 7 INTERVIEW Valérie Domain talks about her latest book on first ladies’ wardrobes 11 ARTS Summer festivals, Bilingual crossword 14 & 15
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