President François Hollande made a first visit to Great Britain since taking office on Wednesday, July 11, seemingly making peace with Prime Minister David Cameron, who had not agreed to receive the then Socialist candidate when on a campaign visit in March, according to BBC and Le Nouvel Observateur. On a visit anticipated to be quite tense and amid much hype by local media, Hollande and Cameron said they had found common ground and seemed to reach a greater understanding on how to address the question of Europe and the eurozone’s debt crisis, as covered by La Tribune.
President François Hollande, alongside Health Minister Marisol Touraine, spoke on Tuesday, July 17, at the Notre-Dame-du-Lac medical home, specializing in hospice care, to announce plans to explore euthanasia. Though the word itself was never spoken, it was one item on the campaign platform that brought Hollande to the presidency, Le Figaro and Europe 1 reported. Hollande announced the appointment of professor Didier Sicard , who had previously served on the National Ethics Council, to head a committee to explore questions pertaining to end-of-life care, as the president posed the question of whether the government should extend rights beyond those allowed by the 2005 “loi Leonetti,” which permits doctors and patients to end treatment but does not allow doctors to take any active steps to end life, according to La Croix and Le Monde.
Hundreds gathered at Drancy, the site of a transit camp northeast of Paris, on Monday, July 16, as one of a number of ceremonies to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the “Vel d’Hiver” roundup of 13,152 Jews across the Paris area before being held at the Vélodrome d’hiver before deportation, The Miami Herald, Libération and Le Nouvel Observateur reported. Justice Minister Christiane Taubira paid homage that day to Jacques Chirac, the first president to acknowledge France’s involvement in the deportation of thousands of Jews to Nazi territory in 1995, according to Le Point.
The French national agency charged with nuclear waste announced on Wednesday, July 11, that 43 sites around Paris and in the east of the nation had been found to be contaminated with radioactivity, Le Monde and Europe1 reported. The director of the agency said the contamination comes not from France’s large nuclear industry, which is responsible for the majority of the nation’s power, but on past mining of uranium that was prevalent between the two World Wars. However, the agency also forecast last week that the amount of nuclear waste left from France’s nuclear reactors would double by 2030, expected to grow to 95 million cubic feet from the current level of 45 cubic feet, according to UPI.
After French officers handed over the Afghan province of Kapisa to local officials on July 4, the French Joint Staff elaborated on Friday, July 13, that the number of troops - at 4,000 in mid-2011, will be reduced to 2,950 by the end of August and to 1,400 by the end of December, following through with President François Hollande’s vow to remove French troops well before the 2014 date set by NATO, Le Monde and CNN reported. The remaining 1,400 troops to remain next calendar year will not be in combat positions but will be responsible for the return of materials and the training of Afghan military and police forces.
Le Monde shared a blog poking fun at the “addiction” of French politicians to cumulating multiple government positions, as President François Hollande was among a number of voices to have called on members of his parliament to reduce their number of posts down to one. Of 577 members of the National Assembly, 438 hold more than one political position, while 33 hold four, the maximum number allowed by law.