Category Archives: France

(Economist) Assessing Emmanuel Macron’s apocalyptic vision

(Economist) Europe is “on the edge of a precipice”, says France’s president. Is he right?

Today’s europe owes its existence to the United States. America fought two world wars on European soil; American diplomacy was midwife to what became the European Union; American arms protected western Europe from Soviet invasion; and American statesmen oversaw German unification. Now, in a dramatic plea to all Europeans, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has warned that America is cutting Europe loose. The old continent is “on the edge of a precipice”, he warns. Unless it wakes up, “we will no longer be in control of our destiny.”

In his Elysée Palace office, Mr Macron spoke to The Economist in apocalyptic terms (see article). nato, the transatlantic alliance, is suffering from “brain-death”, he says; Europe needs to develop a military force of its own. The eu thinks of itself as just a market, but it needs to act as a political bloc, with policies on technology, data and climate change to match. Past French presidents have argued that Europe cannot rely on America, and should look to France instead. Mr Macron is not just rehashing this view. He believes that America and Europe have shared interests and has worked tirelessly to keep good relations with President Donald Trump. But he argues that for the first time America has a president who “does not share our idea of the European project”. And even if Mr Trump is not re-elected, historical forces are pulling the old allies apart.

(DML) France wants Britain out of the EU ‘within 15 DAYS’ amid splits in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet over whether to call an early general election or try to pass a Brexit deal


  • Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain are said to back Mr Macron’s short extension
  • Germany and Ireland are among the countries backing a three month delay
  • Boris Johnson’s Cabinet is reportedly split over whether to call a snap election 

European leaders are juggling Britain’s immediate future today as they discuss how long to keep the country within the EU.

French president Emmanuel Macron is leading a group of rebels who want a Brexit extension of as little as 15 days after Boris Johnson was forced by MPs to hand control to Brussels.

Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain are said to back Mr Macron – with the Netherlands reportedly drifting towards this position.

Germany and Ireland however, are among the countries that are more relaxed about the idea of a three month delay proposed by European Council president Donald Tusk.

It came amid reported splits within Mr Johnson’s Cabinet over whether to use the Brextension for a general election or a second attempt to get his Withdrawal Agreement Bill (Wab) through Parliament.

The ‘Grinches’ who stole Christmas? Schools could be asked to reschedule their NATIVITY plays to make way for polling stations

Schools could be asked to reschedule their nativity plays so that schools can be used as polling booths for a pre-Christmas general election, it emerged today.

Downing Street wants to go to the polls in December in the hope of getting a majority for a Brexit deal as soon as possible.

But Boris Johnson has been warned of the logistical problems a winter election could bring, including the need for external lighting at polling booths and contingency plans for bad weather, the Times reported

Tory Party chairman James Cleverly told the BBC‘s Today programme this morning:  ‘I don’t want to be the Grinch. 

‘But the point is democracy is incredibly important and we have been prevented on discharging the duty imposed upon us.’

It is thought the Prime Minister will lay down the gauntlet to Jeremy Corbyn as soon as the EU grant another Brexit extension, a decision expected tomorrow.

Mr Johnson could put forward a motion under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act as early as tonight, according to The Times, leading to a potential election on December 5.

But Mr Johnson is facing mounting Tory resistance, with some believing his chief adviser Dominic Cummings is driving him towards the polls, whereas the PM might be more inclined to plough on with Brexit.

And Jeremy Corbyn is dithering over whether to back a pre-Christmas election last night – as Labour MPs warned him the party would get ‘smashed’ at the polls.

Mr Corbyn, who turned down the chance of an election three times last month, claimed this month he was ‘champing at the bit’ to go to the polls as soon as a fresh Brexit delay was in place.

But yesterday his spokesman refused to say if Labour would vote for an election next week, even if Brexit has been delayed until the end of January, which rules out the risk of an immediate No Deal.

And sources said more than half of Labour MPs had told the party’s whips they would not vote for an election now, even if Mr Corbyn ordered them to.

One shadow Cabinet minister told MailOnline: ‘It is awful. He could try, but he probably won’t have the numbers to get it over the line anyway. It just doesn’t stack up.’

French president Emmanuel Macron is leading a group of rebels who want a Brexit extension of as little as 15 days after Boris Johnson was forced by MPs to hand control to Brussels


French president Emmanuel Macron is leading a group of rebels who want a Brexit extension of as little as 15 days after Boris Johnson was forced by MPs to hand control to Brussels

It came amid reported splits within Mr Johnson's Cabinet over whether to use the Brextension for a general election or a second attempt to get his Withdrawal Agreement Bill (Wab) through Parliament.


It came amid reported splits within Mr Johnson’s Cabinet over whether to use the Brextension for a general election or a second attempt to get his Withdrawal Agreement Bill (Wab) through Parliament.

The shadow minister predicted that the leadership will wait till the last possible moment and hope events save them from having to make a decision.

PM blasted for pulling out of grilling by senior MPs for the third time

The Prime Minister’s decision to pull out of an appearance before senior MPs with less than 24 hours’ notice has been described as ‘extraordinary’.

Boris Johnson had been due to face questioning by the Commons Liaison Committee – made up of select committee chairmen – at Westminster on Thursday.

But in a handwritten note to the chairwoman, Sarah Wollaston, he asked for a new date to be arranged for ‘five or six months’ on from when he became Prime Minister.

Dr Wollaston said the public would have to ‘draw their own conclusions’ on whether he refused because he is running scared.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘This is the only select committee that can call the Prime Minister, and this is now the third time that he’s cancelled, despite having given a clear reassurance during the leadership campaign that he would come at an early opportunity.

‘So I think that’s the point here. He knows that he’s been Prime Minister for months now, he’s only had two appearances at Prime Minister’s Questions, and again not facing this kind of detailed scrutiny, I don’t think it’s good enough, really.’

‘In principle an Opposition should always be wanting to face the electorate. That is pretty much our only reason for being.

‘But a lot of people are scared of what will happen. Splitting the party that badly would be the nightmare.

‘What is our excuse for not wanting an election? Once we have the extension, what are we going to say?’

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey was asked this morning if Labour would vote for a general election as soon as the Prime Minister asks for one after the EU grants an extension.

She told the Today programme: ‘That’s our position. But we also want the Prime Minister to look at the compromise that’s been offered that a lot of MPs support, and that’s the ability to be able to properly scrutinise the Bill.’

Mr Cummings, Mr Johnson’s chief adviser, is reportedly leading calls to abandon attempts to get the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal through Parliament and go for an election.

But Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith is said to be among ministers arguing it is still possible to pass a bill ratifying the agreement, despite Tuesday’s defeat for Mr Johnson’s attempt to fast-track it through the Commons.

There are fears among Conservatives that if there is an election before the UK has left the EU, it will play into the hands of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

Even if Mr Johnson does decide to press for an early election there is no guarantee that he will succeed.

Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act he would need a ‘super majority’ of two-thirds of all MPs to call an election which would require Labour support.

Tory Party chairman James Cleverly kept his options this morning, saying it was still possible to leave on October 31, without revealing how. 




Jeremy Corbyn is dithering over whether to back a pre-Christmas election last night – as Labour MPs warned him the party would get 'smashed' at the polls.


Jeremy Corbyn is dithering over whether to back a pre-Christmas election last night – as Labour MPs warned him the party would get ‘smashed’ at the polls.

Mr Cummings (pictured today) reportedly banging his fist in fury during a meeting between Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn when the PM suggested a compromise to the Brexit timetable


Mr Cummings (pictured today) reportedly banging his fist in fury during a meeting between Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn when the PM suggested a compromise to the Brexit timetable

He told the Today Programme: ‘We’ve been calling for a general election, me personally, the Prime Minister at the ballot box, my friends and colleagues all around the country, for months now.

‘The Labour Party are running scared and I can completely understand why, their Brexit message is confused at best.’

 He added that the Government has had to ‘ramp up’ its no-deal preparations because ‘the EU has not agreed an extension and therefore it is absolutely essential that we make sure that we are ready to leave’. 

Mr Cummings reportedly banging his fist in fury during a meeting between Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn when the PM suggested a compromise to the Brexit timetable.

After Labour blocked Mr Johnson’s fast-track Brexit timetable on Tuesday night, it was alleged that Mr Johnson had asked Mr Corbyn how long it might take to get the deal passed, at which point, according to The Telegraph, Mr Cummings furiously shouted, ‘No!’

No10 doused the claims as ‘utter nonsense’ and added that the meeting with the Opposition leader was ‘a total waste of time.’ 

‘They’ve kicked away the ladder of redemption’: Nine former Tory MPs who voted down Boris Johnson’s bid to leave on October 31 have little chance of rejoining party, says No10 source 

Nine former Tory MPs who blocked Boris Johnson‘s hopes of securing an October 31 Brexit have little chance of rejoining the party, it emerged last night.

A senior government source said the rebels – who include former chancellors Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, former attorney general Dominic Grieve QC and former development secretary Rory Stewart had ‘kicked away’ the ‘ladder of redemption’.

They all voted for the deal on Tuesday night but against the timetable motion. 

One rebel, Antoinette Sandbach, offered to back Mr Johnson on both votes but only if she was given a guarantee she would be readmitted. The offer was refused

One rebel, Antoinette Sandbach, offered to back Mr Johnson on both votes but only if she was given a guarantee she would be readmitted. The offer was refused

After losing that vote Mr Johnson announced he would have to ‘pause’ his legislation and wait for EU leaders to impose a Brexit delay.

The vote had divided the 21 former Tory rebels into ‘two very separate camps’, the source said.

‘We have those who lost the whip but have supported the government since in trying to get a deal through, and we have another group who seem to be totally opposed to Conservative policy and bent on inflicting a vindictive political defeat on the PM.

‘There a ladder of redemption and it follows that the first group has started to climb it, while the other group has kicked it away.’ 

One rebel, Antoinette Sandbach, offered to back Mr Johnson on both votes but only if she was given a guarantee she would be readmitted and could fight the next election as a Conservative, a source told the Mail. 

This offer was refused.

Last night Miss Sandbach claimed her negotiations were ‘primarily’ about giving the House of Commons a bigger say on the post-Brexit relationship with the EU, avoiding No Deal at the end of transition and greater Parliamentary scrutiny of prerogative powers. 

But she added: ‘Of course I wanted reassurance that longstanding issues in my association would be dealt with having raised these for over 12 months, as if they were not, returning the whip would be a purely symbolic act, I also wanted reassurance that there was still a place in the party for MPs like me on the one nation wing of the party.

‘As the policy issues weren’t dealt with I and others voted against the programme motion.’ 

Several local associations have already begun the process of selecting new candidates for the seats. 

With an election looming, that process is set to accelerate in the coming weeks, according to a senior Tory source.

Mr Hammond defended his vote, arguing it was wrong to push the deal through at ‘breakneck speed’.

‘I believe in delivering Brexit, but I also believe in Parliamentary scrutiny,’ he wrote on Twitter.

‘That’s why I voted for the Brexit bill to progress to the next stage, but against No10’s plan to rush it through at breakneck speed. Now’s the time for cool heads, to calmly consider the Bill.’

At Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, Mr Hammond stood alone behind the Speaker’s Chair, with Tory MPs appearing to avoid speaking to him during the one-hour session.

(EUobserver) Macron breaks Balkans promise in quest for EU dominance


When people power forced out North Macedonia’s regime in 2016, this was an inspiration to dissatisfied citizens around the Balkans.

Other authoritarians such as president Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia took note and tightened their stranglehold on political and economic life, determined not to let the same happen in their countries.

North Macedonia’s incoming centre-left government then struck historic deals with neighbours Bulgaria and Greece; on Greek insistence, it changed its name and ended a dispute that had blocked its path toward the EU and Nato for almost a quarter of a century.

The EU responded by promising to open accession talks. Meanwhile, former prime minister Nikola Gruevski was whisked out of the country by Hungarian diplomats and evaded justice. He is today a guest of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, his ideological soulmate inside the EU.

At this week’s EU summit in Brussels, the EU’s promise was broken.

Whereas a decision had been twice postponed before, France has escalated to holding the whole collectively agreed enlargement process hostage, demanding a rethink of the accession method before talks begin with the two current candidates – North Macedonia and Albania.

If France’s vague demand stands, EU enlargement for those not already negotiating would evaporate.

The terms for those countries already in that process – Serbia and Montenegro – would be muddied rather than clarified in a useful way.

Finally, there is a serious risk of a Gruevski comeback in early elections that have, in the wake of France’s veto, been called for next April.

In a piece of unprecedented policy vandalism, Macron has killed off a policy that until recently was seen as a core function of the EU, and which is the EU’s only strategy toward its Balkan neighbours.

He is right that a policy review and recalibration is needed – the frontrunners in EU accession talks, Montenegro and Serbia, have both seen significant democratic and rule of law backsliding, which belies the theory that the closer a country is to joining, the stronger is the motivation to reform.

But Macron does not truly want to reform the process, he wants to wreck it.

This European Council has brought him a great deal closer to that goal. Contrary to many expectations, he did not blink when confronted by Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel. He held fast against almost all other member states in insisting that a decision be postponed until after a policy review.

What happened in Brussels this week indicates France’s attempt to transform a lowest common denominator approach to enlargement that amounted to containment into a formalised containment policy.

France says that both North Macedonia and especially Albania have not advanced far enough to start membership negotiations, and that the accession process is no longer adequate to the task at hand. Neither of these arguments is entirely without merit.

But nor do they constitute the true picture. The absence of critique of the two “frontrunners,” despite their manifest state capture, is one clue.

The way in which France’s assertions have been advanced – without any specifics of what the two candidates are supposed to do to meet French demands, and without specific proposals on how to reform the process – suggests that what’s at stake, for Macron, is France’s leadership role in a post-Brexit EU.

The Balkan states, and enlargement in general, are merely collateral damage – expendable in his quest for supremacy. If the EU is still talking accession with Serbia and Montenegro, there is no objective reason why it would not do so with North Macedonia and Albania.

The current mood inside the EU is dark. A number of illiberal democracies are emerging, none more fully captured than Hungary. All of them are in member states that joined in 2004 or after.

But the argument that the EU should therefore block enlargement is short-sighted. In fact, fighting for values and standards in the enlargement countries is of one piece with the fighting for the same values and standards inside the union.

Illiberal allies

Perversely for a president who has portrayed himself as the anti-Orban in the EU firmament, Macron has effectively allied with Orban and other illiberals on the EU periphery.

These include Serbia’s president Vucic.

It also includes Macron’s openness to ethno-territorial border shifts, beginning with a “land swap” proposed by Vucic and his recently weakened Kosovo counterpart president Hashim Thaci.

On this issue, Macron is even effectively allied with US president Donald Trump against Merkel. As such, he makes the national populist disease – and all its attendant effects, including climate crisis denialism – stronger in Europe, not weaker.

If Macron believes that this policy will protect him against this domestically or closer to home, he is likely to be disappointed.

Europe’s illiberals are allied and coordinated beyond the EU member states – indeed, beyond the confines of Europe.

Macron seems to believe he can better defend his vision of an EU as a Fortress Europe by eschewing alliances with popular exponents of the EU’s foundational values outside its ranks.

This policy is doomed to fail – weakening Europe when it needs to consolidate around its fundamental values to face unprecedented societal and civilisational challenge.

(EUobserver) Macron gives Johnson five days to change Brexit plan

(EUobserver) French president Emmanuel Macron has given British prime minister Boris Johnson until the end of this week to improve the UK plan on the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The UK proposed to reinstall a customs border without border checks. The EU said it was not satisfied, making an agreement on a Brexit deal at the EU summit on 17 October less probable.

(EUobserver) France mulls using social media to identify tax evaders

(EUobserver) The French government is considering monitoring the social media accounts of taxpayers to detect possible tax fraud. According to France24, authorities will control purchases on sites such as eBay or Le Bon Coin. The French National Commission for Data Protection and Liberties (CNIL) stated that the proposal may infringe on freedom of thought and expression. In the UK, a similar system called ‘Connect’ uses social media to identify tax evaders.

(JN) Deutsche Bank transfere negócio de corretagem para o BNP Paribas

(JN) De acordo com a Bloomberg, cerca de mil funcionários do banco alemão serão transferidos para o BNP Paribas durante os próximos dois anos.

Deutsche Bank transfere negócio de corretagem para o BNP Paribas

O alemão Deutsche Bank fechou esta segunda-feira um acordo com o BNP Paribas para transferir o seu negócio de corretagem para o banco francês. A medida, que se enquadra no seu plano de reestruturação, deverá estar concluída até ao final de 2021.

De acordo com a Bloomberg, cerca de mil funcionários do banco alemão serão transferidos para o BNP Paribas durante os próximos dois anos, no âmbito desta medida que, segundo fontes citadas pela agência noticiosa, deverá traduzir-se numa recuperação do saldo dos clientes que, no banco alemão, caíram para metade, para cerca de 80 mil milhões de dólares.

“Agora que o acordo foi assinado, acreditamos que temos as bases para recuperar e expandir os negócios”, disse o diretor de operações do Deutsche Bank, Frank Kuhnke, em entrevista por telefone à Bloomberg. O acordo “fornece benefícios reais tangíveis para os nossos clientes e oferece à nossa equipa um caminho a seguir”.

As duas empresas chegaram a um acordo de princípio no início de julho, quando o CEO do Deutsche Bank, Christian Sewing, decidiu sair da área de negociação de ações. No entanto, a finalização do acordo foi dificultada por uma enxurrada de deserções de clientes.

Para o CEO do BNP Paribas, Jean-Laurent Bonnafe, o acordo fechado entre as partes pode gerar a escala necessária para competir com os grandes players.

Na verdade, segundo a Blomberg, o acordo pode colocar o BNP Paribas entre as quatro maiores corretoras do mundo nos próximos 12 meses, com 250 a 300 mil milhões de dólares em saldos de clientes.

Contudo, até que os clientes sejam efetivamente transferidos para o BNP Paribas, o Deutsche Bank continuará a gerir a plataforma, como esclareceram os dois bancos esta segunda-feira.

(PUB) Cansado de mentir, ministro do Ambiente de Macron demite-se (em directo na rádio)

(PUB) Nicolas Hulot, um ecologista com fama nacional que tinha sido um trunfo do Presidente, bateu com a porta, em directo na rádio, desiludido. Protagonismo de Macron na luta pelo clima sai beliscado.

O compromisso com a causa ambiental, que Emmanuel Macron tem defendido com orgulho, sofreu esta terça-feira um valente safanão. Nicolas Hulot, responsável pela pasta do Ambiente, surpreendeu tudo e todos ao anunciar a sua demissão, numa entrevista em directo para a rádio France Inter, na qual assumiu a “frustração” pela falta de progressos do Governo francês em aplicar as suas propostas e a incapacidade para persuadir o Presidente e os restantes ministros sobre a urgência das mesmas.

“Não quero continuar a mentir a mim próprio. Não quero dar a ilusão de que a minha presença no Governo significa que estamos a avançar”, justificou Hulot, um ambientalista muito conhecido em França, muito antes de ser ministro.

O activista e apresentador de televisão admitiu que França “faz muito mais do que outros países” em matéria ambiental, mas afirmou que esses “pequenos passos” não são “suficientes” para combater os desafios das alterações climáticas.

O ministro demissionário, altamente popular, tem, por isso, esperança que a sua saída provoque uma “introspecção profunda na sociedade” francesa sobre o estado actual do ambiente e o papel do poder executivo na sua salvaguarda.

A saída de Hulot, a forma como foi anunciada – sem aviso prévio ao Presidente ou ao primeiro-ministro Edouard Philippe – e as justificações oferecidas beliscam seriamente Macron, que chamou a si grande parte do protagonismo na luta contra as mudanças climáticas, em especial quando Donald Trump chutou o tema para canto e anunciou a saída dos Estados Unidos do Acordo de Paris (2015)

A frase “Make our planet great again” (“tornar o planeta grande outra vez”), “roubada” ao lema da Administração Trump, tornou-se um dos slogans da campanha do Presidente francês por uma “economia mais verde”, que teve um dos seus momentos mais altos em Dezembro de 2017, na cimeira One Planet, em Paris, que contou com a presença de cerca de 50 chefes de Estado e de Governo, incluindo o primeiro-ministro português, António Costa, o secretário-geral das Nações Unidas, António Guterres, ou o presidente do Banco Mundial, Jim Yong Kim.

Mas o real empenho de Macron na prossecução das metas que sugeriu está a ser questionado em França. Sabia-se que Hulot não estava satisfeito no Governo, e questionava a sua permanência. Ao demitir-se, deu testemunho de ter tido braços-de-ferro com outros ministros, em particular e com o responsável da Agricultura, Stéphane Travert, desde o primeiro dia em assumiu a chefia do Ministério da Transição Ecológica e Solidária.

“Pequenos passos”, muita frustração

Macron adapta slogande Trump: “tornar o nosso planeta grande outra vez”

Pese embora alguns triunfos – os tais “pequenos passos” –, como o abandono do projecto para a construção de um novo aeroporto nos arredores de Nantes, ou o fim da exploração e utilização de hidrocarbonetos em território francês, o mandato de Hulot foi marcado por concessões e meias vitórias, como no caso da utilização de glifosato na agricultura. Face ao prolongamento do uso do herbicida na UE por mais cinco anos, Macron anunciou que França o proibiria dentro de três anos. Só que, por pressão dos agricultores, o ministro Travert afirmou que se “tentaria sair, mas se não houvesse um substituto deste herbicida, não seria suprimido”. 

A governação de Hulot passou por sucessivos recuos e adiamentos de promessas eleitorais, fruto da redefinição constante de prioridades no Conselho de Ministros, e pelas quais o próprio foi obrigado a dar a cara, mesmo que sem grande convicção. 

O apoio à alteração das metas para a redução da dependência francesa da energia nuclear, até 2025, foi o maior sapo que Hulot teve de engolir e precipitou rumores sobre um pedido de demissão iminente.

“França fala muito, mas age pouco. Muitos anúncios terminam em decisões insignificantes”, criticou o eurodeputado Eric Andrieu, do Partido Socialista, justificando a postura do Governo com a “falta de coerência” nas políticas dos vários ministérios.

A gota de água

O pedido de demissão de um dos “ministros-estrela” do Governo Macron foi praticamente decidido na cabeça do activista depois de uma reunião no Palácio do Eliseu na segunda-feira. 

Macron, o Presidente Júpiter, está a tombar do seu Olimpo, pelo menos para os franceses

O encontro onde se discutiu uma proposta de redução dos preços das licenças de caça, para tornar as regiões rurais francesas mais atractivas, contou com a presença de Thierry Coste, um conhecido lobista da Federação Nacional de Caçadores, que, segundo o Le Monde, gosta de se descrever como “o Maquiavel da ruralidade”. 

Hulot não gostou de o ver sentado à mesma mesa que o Presidente, o primeiro-ministro e os membros do Governo, fez questão de expressar a sua indignação e definiu o momento como a gota de água num mandato “frustrante”.

A relação de proximidade entre o Presidente e os chamados “representantes de interesses” não é um segredo, mais ainda tendo em conta o passado “empresarial” de grande parte dos membros e consultores do Governo, alguns deles assumidos lobistas, como o porta-voz Benjamin Griveaux. Mas tem sido criticada pela oposição, que recorda a “independência” propalada por Macron durante a campanha presidencial de 2017.

Na hora de reagir à demissão de Hulot – é a quinta baixa no Governo em pouco mais de um ano –, o Presidente rebateu este argumento e a ideia de que o executivo não tem cumprido as suas promessas. E lembrou que os obstáculos são muitos, em matéria ambiental.

“Este Governo fez mais em 15 meses do que qualquer outro. [Mas] esta é uma luta que não se vence da noite para o dia e que obriga a confrontarmos a realidade”, explicou a partir da Dinamarca, antes de deixar a promessa: “O compromisso baseado no que prometi aos franceses continuará a ser constante da minha parte”.

(EXAME) Emmanuel Macron pode solicitar status internacional à Amazônia

(EXAME)Presidente francês sugeriu a hipótese caso líderes da região tomem decisões prejudiciais ao planeta, em clara alusão ao presidente Jair Bolsonaro

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron: presidente critica postura de Bolsonaro diante de incêndios na Amazônia (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)

O G-7, grupo de países mais ricos do mundo, prometeu nesta segunda-feira, 26, liberar em caráter de urgência US$ 20 milhões o equivalente a R$ 83 milhões, para enviar aviões-tanque para combater os incêndios na Amazônia. O presidente da França, Emmanuel Macron, questionou a conveniência de conferir um status internacional à floresta caso os líderes da região tomem decisões prejudiciais ao planeta.

A fala de Macron é uma clara alusão ao presidente brasileiro, Jair Bolsonaro(PSL), que o acusou de ter uma “mentalidade colonialista” por exigir uma ação internacional a respeito da região.

Associações e organizações não governamentais (ONGs) levantaram a questão de definir um status internacional para a Amazônia.

“Este não é o quadro da iniciativa que estamos tomando, mas é uma questão real que se impõe se um Estado soberano tomar medidas concretas que obviamente se opõem ao interesse de todo o planeta”, disse Mácron. “As conversas entre (Sebastián) Piñera (presidente do Chile) e Bolsonaro não vão nessa direção, acho que ele está ciente desse assunto. Em qualquer caso, quero viver com essa esperança.”Veja também

Segundo o presidente francês, esse status “é um caminho que permanece aberto e continuará a florescer nos próximos meses e anos”. “A questão é tal no plano climático que não podemos dizer ‘Este é um problema só meu’. É o mesmo para aqueles que têm espaços glaciais em seu território ou que impactam o mundo inteiro.”Veja também

Ele garantiu, no entanto, que construiu a iniciativa que será proposta às Nações Unidas “para respeitar a soberania de cada país”. / Com agências internacionais.

(Parisien) Non, Boris Johnson n’a pas insulté la France en posant le pied sur la table devant Emmanuel Macron

(Parisien) Sur les réseaux sociaux, les internautes s’insurgent du pied du Premier ministre britannique posé sur une table à l’Elysée. Une photo trompeuse.

 Boris Johnson, le pied sur la table à l’Elysée. Cette image figée ne montre pas la réalité du geste du Premier ministre britannique.
Boris Johnson, le pied sur la table à l’Elysée. Cette image figée ne montre pas la réalité du geste du Premier ministre britannique.  Christophe Petit Tesson/REUTERS

Boris Johnson est abonné aux gaffes et aux polémiques. Pour sa première à l’Elysée, il n’a pas dérogé à ses habitudes, déclenchant l’ire de certains internautes en raison d’une attitude jugée irrespectueuse. Mais cette fois, pas sûr que les remontrances soient justifiées. En cause, une photographie du tout nouveau Premier ministre britannique, qui sur ce cliché publié sur les réseaux, pose un pied sur une table basse de l’Elyséelors de sa rencontre avec Emmanuel Macron du jour.

Une image qui dans une forme de raccourci, pourrait représenter la position anglaise à l’égard de l’Europe dans le contexte du Brexit… Sur Twitter des mèmes sont déjà apparus et les commentaires à l’égard de l’ancien maire de Londres sont loin d’être élogieux. La réputation de « BoJo le clown » alimentant le flot de commentaires désobligeants.

Voir l'image sur Twitter

1918:02 – 22 août 2019Informations sur les Publicités Twitter et confidentialité20 personnes parlent à ce sujet

Macroniste clash@MacronisteClash

Trop marrant ce #BorisJohnson.

Voir l'image sur Twitter

1517:45 – 22 août 2019Informations sur les Publicités Twitter et confidentialitéVoir les autres Tweets de Macroniste clash

L’histoire aurait pu être belle pour les amoureux de la « perfide albion bashing » mais la réalité est toute autre.

Le démenti de la vidéo et des coulisses

Tom Rayner, journaliste de Sky News, a diffusé sur Twitter une brève vidéo de l’agence Reuters montrant l’intégralité de la scène qui dément la version des internautes. Le journaliste explique aussi le contexte et ce que les deux hommes politiques se disent. « Voici la vidéo Reuters de Boris Johnson « mettant le pied sur les meubles de l’Elysée ». Il semble que le président Macron faisait la causette en laissant entendre que la table fonctionnerait aussi bien qu’un marchepied si le Premier ministre voulait s’allonger, ce que Johnson fait alors en plaisantant » explique le journaliste qui n’était pourtant pas présent.

Tom Rayner@RaynerSkyNews

WATCH: Here’s the Reuters video of Boris Johnson putting his foot on the Elysee furniture. It seems President Macron was making small talk suggesting the table would work equally well as a footstool should the PM want to recline, which Johnson then jokingly does2 59216:42 – 22 août 2019Informations sur les Publicités Twitter et confidentialité2 032 personnes parlent à ce sujet

Boris Johnson s’en excuse même en faisant un geste du bras en direction des photographes.

« Pas forcement prévu pour être public »

« la scène se déroule en petit comité et nous (le pool photo) arrivons à la seconde même où il (Boris Johnson) entame ce geste et il le stoppe net net en voyant les journalistes arriver. Mais je confirme que cela se passait sur le ton de l’humour mais pas forcement prévu pour être public » a précisé au Parisien Christophe Petit Tesson, auteur de cette photo au succès fou sur les réseaux sociaux.

christophe petit tesson@chptesson


French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (the guy with his shoe on the table ) during their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 22 August 2019 for @epaphotos

Voir l'image sur Twitter

5417:55 – 22 août 2019Informations sur les Publicités Twitter et confidentialité38 personnes parlent à ce sujet

On est donc loin d’un geste insultant envers Emmanuel Macron et la France. Une histoire de photographie pas sans rappeler la polémique Éric Woerth d’il y a quelques jours. Nul doute toutefois que l’image fera le tour du monde dans les prochaines heures.

(DN) Português vai liderar financeira do grupo Renault

(DN) João Miguel Leandro assume presidência executiva do RCI Bank a partir de 1 de setembro. Português também será administrador do grupo Renault.

O RCI Bank and Services, a financeira do grupo Renault, vai ser liderado por um português a partir de 1 de setembro. João Miguel Leandro foi o nome escolhido para suceder a Bruno Kintzinger como presidente executivo desta entidade, segundo uma nota de imprensa divulgada esta segunda-feira.

“A perícia de João Miguel Leandro na área financeira e bancária em França e no estrangeiro, além do seu conhecimento do negócio, ofertas e serviços no crédito automóvel são verdadeiras ativos para reforçar o contributo do RCI Bank and Services no desenvolvimento das marcas da aliança [Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi”, destaca Clotilde Delbos, presidente do conselho de administração do RCI Bank and Services, citada no mesmo documento.

Nascido em 1972, João Miguel Leandro conta com um MBA pela Harvard Business School. Está na área financeira há mais de 20 anos, tendo passado pelo Banco Mello Investimentos, grupo Banco Mais, Crédit Agricole e banco Credibom.

João Miguel Leandro era, até agora, o vice-presidente executivo do Crédit Agricole Consumer Finance.

Além de ser o novo presidente executivo do RCI Bank and Services, este português vai ocupar um dos lugares da comissão executiva do grupo Renault.

João Miguel Leandro é o exemplo de mais um português com cargos de grande responsabilidade na indústria automóvel. Por exemplo, desde 2017, o português Carlos Tavares é o presidente executivo do grupo PSA (Peugeot-Citroën).

(Reuters) Parliament cannot stop Brexit, Johnson to tell Macron and Merkel


LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tell French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the Westminster parliament cannot stop Brexit and a new deal must be agreed if Britain is to avoid leaving the EU without one.

In his first trip abroad as leader, Johnson is due to meet his European counterparts ahead of a G7 summit on Aug. 24-26 in Biarritz, France.

He will say that Britain is leaving the European Union on Oct. 31, with or without a deal, and that the British parliament cannot block that, according to a Downing Street source.

The United Kingdom is heading towards a constitutional crisis at home and a showdown with the EU as Johnson has repeatedly vowed to leave the bloc on Oct. 31 without a deal unless it agrees to renegotiate the Brexit divorce.

After more than three years of Brexit dominating EU affairs, the bloc has repeatedly refused to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement which includes an Irish border insurance policy that Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, agreed in November.

The prime minister is coming under pressure from politicians across the political spectrum to prevent a disorderly departure, with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn vowing to bring down Johnson’s government in early September to delay Brexit.

It is, however, unclear if lawmakers have the unity or power to use the British parliament to prevent a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31 – likely to be the United Kingdom’s most significant move since World War Two.

Opponents of no deal say it would be a disaster for what was once one of the West’s most stable democracies. A disorderly divorce, they say, would hurt global growth, send shockwaves through financial markets and weaken London’s claim to be the world’s preeminent financial centre.

Brexit supporters say there may be short-term disruption from a no-deal exit but that the economy will thrive if cut free from what they cast as a doomed experiment in integration that has led to Europe falling behind China and the United States.

(CNBC) Trump says he ‘might’ put tariffs on French wine in response to digital tax


  • President Donald Trump threatens retaliatory action against France in response to the country’s tax on digital service, saying he “might” put tariffs on French wine.
  • The White House is determining whether the measure is discriminatory or targets U.S. companies.
  • Trump tweets that he has “always said American wine is better than French wine!”

President Donald Trump said Friday that he “might” slap tariffs on French wine in response to the country’s new tax affecting technology companies.

The president told French President Emmanuel Macron that he would put duties on French wine if France passed the digital services tax it approved earlier this month, Trump told reporters Friday. In a tweet earlier Friday, Trump also suggested he could target French wine — a move experts considered the most likely U.S. response to the French digital services tax.

“I’ve always said American wine is better than French wine!” Trump tweeted.

In the tweet, the president said his administration will unveil “a substantial reciprocal action” following what he called Macron’s “foolishness.”

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

France just put a digital tax on our great American technology companies. If anybody taxes them, it should be their home Country, the USA. We will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly. I’ve always said American wine is better than French wine!186K5:32 PM – Jul 26, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy84.2K people are talking about this

Earlier this month, France passed a 3% tax that will affect firms such as Facebook and Google that draw about $28 million or more in revenue from digital services in France. The Trump administration then started an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.WATCH NOWVIDEO00:45White House launches probe in response to France’s tax on US tech companies

If, after the probe, the U.S. determines the tax is discriminatory or unreasonably targets U.S. firms, Trump could respond with tariffs. Trade experts considered Trump’s most likely response a 100% tariff on French wine — one of the country’s signature, symbolic products.

In a statement Friday, White House spokesman Judd Deere criticized France’s tax but did not give any new details on what the U.S. could do to retaliate. He said the administration is “looking closely at all other policy tools” in addition to the already launched investigation as it determines how to respond to France.

“The Trump Administration has consistently stated that it will not sit idly by and tolerate discrimination against U.S.-based firms,” he said.

In a CNBC interview last month, Trump suggested he could put tariffs on French wine. He said California wine producers have complained to him about France putting higher tariffs on imports than the U.S. does. “And you know what, it’s not fair. We’ll do something about it,” he said.

France exported 3.2 billion euros (or about $3.6 billion) in wine to the U.S. last year, according to the Federation of French Wines and Spirits Exporters. The U.S. was France’s biggest wine export market.

Trump does not drink alcohol, but he is familiar with the wine industry. While in office, Trump has touted the Virginia-based Trump Winery operated by his son, Eric.

Tariffs on France would open up another conflict as Trump tries to navigate thorny trade relationships around the globe. Already in the coming months, the White House looks to push a skeptical Congress to approve Trump’s replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement and strike a trade deal with China.

(BBC) France passes tax on tech giants despite US threats


A visitor walks in front of a Google logo during a show at Parc des Expositions in May 2018

France has approved a digital services tax despite threats of retaliation by the US, which argues that it unfairly targets American tech giants.

The 3% tax will be levied on sales generated in France by multinational firms like Google and Facebook.

The French government has argued that such firms headquartered outside the country pay little or no tax.

The US administration has ordered an inquiry into the move – which could result in retaliatory tariffs.

The new tax was approved by the French senate on Thursday, a week after it was passed by the lower house, the National Assembly.

Any digital company with revenue of more than €750m ($850m; £670m) – of which at least €25m is generated in France – would be subject to the levy.

It will be retroactively applied from early 2019, and is expected to raise about €400m this year.

Why target tech giants?

At present, they are able to pay little or no corporate tax in countries where they do not have a large physical presence. They declare most of their profits where they are headquartered.

The European Commission estimates that on average traditional businesses face a 23% tax rate on their profits within the EU, while internet companies typically pay 8% or 9%.

France has long argued that taxes should be based on digital, not just physical presence. It announced its own tax on big technology firms last year after EU-wide efforts stalled.

An EU levy would require consensus among members, but Ireland, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland raised objections.

France’s new 3% tax will be based on sales made in the country, rather than on profits.

About 30 – mostly American companies – will pay it. Chinese, German, Spanish and British firms will also be affected.

The French government says the tax will end if a similar measure is agreed internationally.

The big tech companies have argued they are complying with national and international tax laws.

What has the US said?

The Trump administration denounced the move a day before the vote.

On Wednesday trade representative Robert Lighthizer said an investigation would “determine whether it is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce”.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
Image captionUS Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said President Trump ordered the investigation

The US inquiry could pave the way for punitive tariffs, which Mr Trump has imposed on several occasions since taking office.

Previous investigations launched by Washington have covered European Union and Chinese trade practices.

Defending the new tax on Thursday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France was “sovereign and decided its own tax rules”.

“I want to tell our American friends that this should be an incentive for them to accelerate even more our work to find an agreement on the international taxation of digital services,” he added.

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France isolated

Analysis by Dave Lee, BBC North America technology reporter

This “Section 301” investigation, as it is known, has been used before as a way of eventually implementing new tariffs on countries the Trump administration feels is taking the US for a ride.

If France is going to take hundreds of millions of euros from the pockets of American tech giants, the US argument might be, then why shouldn’t the US earn more money from what the French do in the US? It took the same view with China and has buried itself in a trade war that has destabilised relations and has the potential to escalate even further.

The digital tax is a risk for France, for it is now isolated. There had been talk of a Europe-wide tech tax, but talks fell down thanks in part to opposition from countries such as Ireland, which has benefitted from being able to attract tech firms to set up their European base in the country. Other countries – such as the UK, Spain and Austria – are considering similar moves, but France is furthest along.

One thing all sides agree on, however, is that in our modern, digital economy, the overhaul of how companies are taxed is long overdue.

France will be hoping for one of two outcomes. Either countries follow their lead and implement their own, independent laws, limiting France’s exposure. Or the move gives added energy to calls for a multilateral agreement on how digital firms should be taxed globally, putting an end to the squirreling-away of vast sums of money made by internet giants.

(GUA) France records all-time highest temperature of 45.9C


Record for mainland France falls in southern commune of Gallargues-le-Montueux as Europe swelters in heatwave

France recorded temperatures nearly two degrees higher than its previous record and firefighters continued to battle historic wildfires in Spain as much of western Europe remained in the grip of an extreme early-summer heatwave on Friday.

The French state weather forecaster, Météo-France, said the temperature in Gallargues-le-Montueux in the Gard département hit 45.9C at 4.20pm on Friday.

The previous 2003 record of 44.1C was beaten twice before on Friday: first when the southeastern town of Carpentras reached 44.3C, then hours later when Villevieille, in Provence, hit 45.1C.

“This is historic,” a Météo-France meteorologist, Etienne Kapikian, said. “It’s the first time a temperature in excess of 45C has ever been recorded in France.”

In Germany, the national DWD weather service said overall June temperatures were more than four degrees higher than historic averages for the month and 0.4C higher than the 2003 June average, the warmest since records began in 1881.

The World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva said 2019 was now firmly on course to be among the world’s hottest ever years and that 2015-2019 would then become the hottest five-year period on record.

While it was too soon to definitely attribute the Europe’s current blistering heatwave, which began on Monday, to climate change, it was “absolutely consistent” with extremes linked to the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, the UN agency said.

“Heatwaves will become more intense, they will become more drawn out, they will become more extreme, they will start earlier and they will finish later,” the WMO spokeswoman, Clare Nullis, told journalists.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, said extreme weather would become more frequent as a result of global warming. “We will need to change our set-up, our way of working, build differently,” he said, stressing a necessary “adaptation of society and its habits”.Quick guide

How global heating is causing more extreme weather

Four administrative départements in France – Vaucluse, Gard, Hérault and Bouches-du-Rhône – were placed on red alert, signalling temperatures of “dangerous intensity” that are more typical of Saudi Arabia.

About 4,000 schools were closed in France as head teachers warned they could not guarantee safe conditions, local authorities cancelled many end-of-school-year carnivals, and nursing homes equipped the elderly with hydration sensors.

“This heat wave is exceptional by its intensity and how early it is,” the prime minister, Edouard Philippe, said, defending authorities’ efforts to avoid a repeat of the notorious 2003 heatwave which caused 15,000 premature deaths.

“I want to appeal to the sense of responsibility of citizens – there are avoidable deaths in every heatwave,” Philippe said. “Measures have been taken for the most vulnerable people but given the intensity of the heat wave, it’s the entire population who must be careful today … both for oneself and for loved ones and neighbours.”

The French health minister, Agnès Buzyn, warned people tempted to plunge into cold water to do so only in designated public bathing areas, adding that four people had drowned since the beginning of the week.

A six-year-old child was also in life-threatening condition after being hit by water shooting from an illegally opened fire hydrant in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, French media reported.

Activists from Youth for Climate stage a sit-in in Paris.
 Activists from Youth for Climate stage a sit-in in Paris. Photograph: Lewis Joly/AP

French families with elderly relatives who were ill or living alone were advised to call or visit them twice a day and take them to cool places, while the state-run rail operator SNCF offered free cancellations or exchanges on long-distance trips.

The greater Paris region, Ile de France, had already banned more than half of cars from its roads in an effort to reduce air pollution and the cities of Lyon, Strasbourg and Marseille have also restricted traffic.

With temperatures in parts of Spain expected to hit a new June record of 43C, the Spanish meteorological office issued red alerts in parts of Catalonia, Navarre and the Basque country.

Hundreds of firefighters in Catalonia continued to battle to bring a large wildfire under control which has so far burned through 6,500 hectares of land and could consume as many as 20,000ha.

A 17-year-old Spanish boy died from heatstroke in the early hours of Friday after having convulsions when he jumped into a swimming pool to cool down, while an 80-year-old man died on Thursday after collapsing from what is thought to have been heatstroke in the city of Valladolid.

Italy put 16 cities under alerts for high temperatures, and civil security services distributed water to tourists visiting famed sites around Rome under a scorching sun and in Berlin, a police unit turned water cannon usually used against rioters on city trees to cool them down.

As Germans attempted to cool off amid scorching temperatures, at least four people died in bathing accidents in different parts of the country on Wednesday. Parts of Britain were expected to experience high temperatureson Saturday, with a high of 32C forecast for London.

(EN) Laurent Wauquiez resigns as leader of France’s centre-right Les Républicains

The leader of France’s centre-right Les Républicains party announced he would step down on Sunday just one week after his party received its lowest score ever in the European elections.

The party received just 8.48% of the vote in France on May 26 whereas, in 2014, the party received 20.41% of the vote.

“The election was a failure,” Wauquiez told the French channel TF1 on Sunday. “It’s not easy but we must humbly recognise that it was a failure.”

“Victories are collective. Defeats are solitary. That’s the way it is,” Wauquiez continued.

Wauquiez went on to say that he must take responsibility and that he had given the decision serious consideration.

Laurent Wauquiez

J’ai décidé de prendre du recul. Je me retire de mes fonctions de président des Républicains. C’est indispensable. Pendant une semaine, j’ai tout fait pour rassembler les bonnes volontés. Je ne veux pas être un obstacle. La droite doit se reconstruire. #Le20h

7:40 PM – Jun 2, 2019
1,066 people are talking about this
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Pressure had been mounting on the 44-year-old right-wing politician to resign from the post he has held for 18 months.

The Républicains president of the Ile-de-France region, Valérie Pécresse, told RTL the day after the European elections that if she were in Wauquiez’s place, she would resign.

Eleven young Les Républicains deputies posted a statement on Twitter Thursday stating that French people no longer voted or believed in the party’s ideas and called for a renewal committee to voice a new generation of the party.

Les Républicains — previously known as the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) — is the same party of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Alain Juppé. It is also the former party of Macron’s prime minister Édouard Philippe.

Les Républicains presidential candidate François Fillon came in third place in the first round of the 2017 election behind Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.

But the party was in fourth place behind Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally, Macron’s En Marche party, and Yannick Jadot’s Green Party list in the European elections.

Wauquiez will now focus on his role as president of the region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.

(LeMonde) Antonio Costa : « Je partage les mêmes idées que Macron »


Dans un entretien avec « Le Monde », le premier ministre socialiste portugais, associé à la gauche radicale dans son pays, explique pourquoi il veut s’allier avec le président français au niveau européen.

Antonio Costa à l’Elysée, le 20 mai.
Antonio Costa à l’Elysée, le 20 mai. LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

Premier ministre socialiste du Portugal depuis 2015 grâce à une alliance inédite avec la gauche radicale, Antonio Costa est souvent présenté comme l’un des espoirs de la gauche en Europe, parce qu’il a réussi à faire sortir son pays de la cure d’austérité imposée en échange d’un plan d’aide de la zone euro. Il a toutefois récemment soutenu Emmanuel Macron.

Votre vidéo appelant à l’unité « des forces progressistes » avec Emmanuel Macron a suscité beaucoup de critiques des gauches françaises et portugaises. Aux élections européennes, soutenez-vous le président français ou Raphaël Glucksmann, la tête de liste PS-Place publique ?

Les choix de politique intérieure sont les choix des Français. Mais au niveau européen, il faut absolument bâtir une grande alliance progressiste et démocratique au moment où l’extrême droite construit son internationale. J’ai envoyé un message sur une vision européenne qu’on partage avec Emmanuel Macron ; de la même façon que j’ai envoyé un message à Alexis Tsipras [le premier ministre grec de gauche]. Il faut bâtir au sein du Conseil européen un grand front pour l’avenir de l’Europe.

Y compris avec La République en Marche, que les socialistes français classent à droite ?

Au niveau européen, on siège à vingt-huit. Et à vingt-huit, il faut trouver des points de vue en commun et des alliances. Sur plusieurs sujets, à commencer par la réforme de la zone euro, on partage les même idées avec le président Macron, qui a donné une impulsion supplémentaire aux efforts réformistes pour bâtir une Europe plus proche des citoyens.

(BBC) Notre-Dame: Massive fire ravages Paris cathedral


A major fire has engulfed the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, one of France’s most famous landmarks.

The 850-year-old Gothic building’s spire and roof have collapsed but the main structure, including the two bell towers, has been saved, officials say.

Firefighters are still working to contain the blaze as teams try to salvage the artwork stored inside.

President Emmanuel Macron called it a “terrible tragedy”. The cause of the fire is not yet clear.

Officials say it could be linked to the renovation work that began after cracks appeared in the stone, sparking fears the structure could become unstable.

Paris prosecutor’s office said it had opened an inquiry into “accidental destruction by fire”. A firefighter was seriously injured while tackling the blaze.

Visibly emotional, Mr Macron said the “worst had been avoided” and vowed to launch an international fundraising scheme to rebuild the cathedral.

How did the fire spread?

The fire began at around 18:30 (16:30 GMT) and quickly reached the roof of the cathedral, destroying its stained-glass windows and the wooden interior before toppling the spire.

Damaged parts of cathedral
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Some 500 firefighters worked to prevent one of the bell towers from collapsing. More than four hours later, fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet said the main structure had been “saved and preserved” from total destruction.

Sections of the cathedral were under scaffolding as part of the extensive renovations and 16 copper statues had been removed last week.

Deputy Paris Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said the building had suffered “colossal damages”, and teams were working to save the cathedral’s remaining artwork.

Media captionThe fire department said a major operation was under way

Historian Camille Pascal told French broadcaster BFMTV that “invaluable heritage” had been destroyed, adding: “Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre-Dame. We can be only horrified by what we see”.

How have people reacted?

Thousands of people gathered in the streets around the cathedral, observing the flames in silence. Some could be seen openly weeping, while others sang hymns or said prayers.

Several churches around Paris rang their bells in response to the blaze, which happened as Catholics celebrate Holy Week.

INTERACTIVENotre-Dame cathedral fire


Image of Notre Dame with the tower missing


Image of Notre Dame with the tower on fire

Because of the fire, Mr Macron cancelled a speech on TV in which he was due to address the street protests that have rocked France for months.

Visiting the scene, the president said the cathedral was a building “for all French people”, including those who had never been there.

“We’ll rebuild Notre-Dame together”, he said as he praised the “extreme courage” and “professionalism” of the firefighters.

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A symbol of a country

Analysis by Henri Astier, BBC World Online

No other site represents France quite like Notre-Dame. Its main rival as a national symbol, the Eiffel Tower, is little more than a century old. Notre-Dame has stood tall above Paris since the 1200s.

It has given its name to one of the country’s literary masterpieces. Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is known to the French simply as Notre-Dame de Paris.

The last time the cathedral suffered major damage was during the French Revolution. It survived two world wars largely unscathed.

Watching such an embodiment of the permanence of a nation burn and its spire collapse is profoundly shocking to any French person.

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Facts about Notre-Dame

  • The church receives almost 13 million visitors each year, more than the Eiffel Tower
  • A Unesco World Heritage site, it was built in the 12th and 13th centuries
  • Several statues of the facade of the Catholic cathedral were removed for renovation
  • The roof, which has been destroyed by the blaze, was made mostly of wood
  • Read more about the treasures of the cathedral
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What has been the international reaction?

The Vatican expressed “shock and sadness,” adding that it was praying for the French fire services.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered her support to the people of France, calling Notre-Dame a “symbol of French and European culture”.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a tweet: “My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral”.

Also on Twitter, US President Donald Trump said it was “horrible to watch” the fire and suggested that “flying water tankers” could be used to extinguish the blaze.

In an apparent response, the French Civil Security service said that was not an option as it might result in the collapse of the entire building.