When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

The Sick Man Of Europe Is France, In Every Sense

Leader of French far right party National Front, Marine Le Pen
Leader of French far right party National Front, Marine Le Pen
Laurent Joffrin

PARISFrance, the sick man of Europe… Until now, we have been using this old phrase as a provocative way to characterize this country's current economic situation.

But after the results of Sunday's European elections, this phrase now can be used to refer to something broken in French politics. With the victory of the far-right National Front party, the nationalist wave that has hit the continent finds in our country its most aggressive expression.

What kind of party topped the polls in this national election? It is a party that is anti-European, anti-immigration and committed to restoring the death penalty. It is also a party that wants to tear up the agreements on the right of asylum, to reject the Schengen agreements on the free movement of people, and to close the borders.

This significant event stains France's reputation in the world. It also sheds a harsh light on the health of our society.

Engage with people, not markets

The root causes of this break have been known for a long time.

This is a Europe that is a distant, disembodied structure doomed to austerity, and the endless economic crisis underlines year after year the powerlessness of the politicians.

The ruling class lost itself in unbridled financial markets, and seems unable to understand that the globalization that it takes advantages of is actually destroying the markers and protections the peoples believed they could count on.

France's center-left leadership needed two years to finally choose the reform to implement, and it is now paying the price of its indecision.

It was a terrible shock. But, in the long run, will it be salutary?

Of course, the responsibility lies primarily with those in charge. Europe must react by conducting a policy that engages with the people of its member nations, rather than the markets. The government in France must work continuously on the reforms it promised and at the same time spare the working class as much as possible.

With both words and action, President François Hollande must embody this difficult path and explain why the efforts he is asking are necessary.

The French ruling class must finally regain a sense of civic responsibility, to revive the economy that remains mired in stagnation and rediscover an air of patriotism. Some will say it is a lot to ask for. But without these radical changes, support for the National Front is only bound to increase.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


The Problem With Always Blaming Climate Change For Natural Disasters

Climate change is real, but a closer look at the science shows there are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters. It is important to raise awareness about the long-term impact of global warming, but there's a risk in overstating its role in the latest floods or fires.

People on foot, on bikes, motorcycles, scooters and cars navigate through a flooded street during the day time.

Karachi - People wade through flood water after heavy rain in a southern Pakistani city

Xinhua / ZUMA
Axel Bojanowski


BERLIN — In September, thousands of people lost their lives when dams collapsed during flooding in Libya. Engineers had warned that the dams were structurally unsound.

Two years ago, dozens died in floods in western Germany, a region that had experienced a number of similar floods in earlier centuries, where thousands of houses had been built on the natural floodplain.

Last year saw more than 1,000 people lose their lives during monsoon floods in Pakistan. Studies showed that the impact of flooding in the region was exacerbated by the proximity of human settlements, the outdated river management system, high poverty rates and political instability in Pakistan.

There are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters, but one dominates the headlines: climate change. That is because of so-called attribution studies, which are published very quickly after these disasters to highlight how human-caused climate change contributes to extreme weather events. After the flooding in Libya, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described climate change as a “serial offender," while the Tageszeitung wrote that “the climate crisis has exacerbated the extreme rainfall."

The World Weather Attribution initiative (WWA) has once again achieved its aim of using “real-time analysis” to draw attention to the issue: on its website, the institute says its goal is to “analyse and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events." Frederike Otto, who works on attribution studies for the WWA, says these reports help to underscore the urgent need for climate action. They transform climate change from an “abstract threat into a concrete one."

In the immediate aftermath of a weather-related disaster, teams of researchers rush to put together attribution studies – “so that they are ready within the same news cycle," as the New York Times reported. However, these attribution studies do not meet normal scientific standards, as they are published without going through the peer-review process that would be undertaken before publication in a specialist scientific journal. And that creates problems.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest