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How The Paris Attacks Could Affect French Policy


Friday's attack is the second in Paris this year. As we mentioned, in January, 18 people died in a mass shooting at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and at a kosher supermarket. We're going to turn now to Sylvie Kauffmann. She's editorial director of the newspaper Le Monde in Paris. Thanks so much for being with us, Sylvie.

SYLVIE KAUFFMANN: You're welcome.

MARTIN: Is this attack this weekend affecting people in a different way than the one on Charlie Hebdo earlier this year?

KAUFFMANN: It is; it is. It is actually a very different event. First, by - the number of victims, as you've mentioned, is much greater. It's - we're now counting 129 people killed. And, you know, there may be more, as there are a huge number of injured people and many of them in a very serious condition. But also, if you remember the Sunday after Charlie Hebdo killings and kosher supermarket killings, we went out. You know, there were 4 million people out in the streets. There were those huge rallies in France all over - all over the country. Today it's impossible because there's a state of emergency. And rallies have been banned in Paris. So people - you know, it's kind of surreal because it's a beautiful day out there today. The temperature is very mild. And I - (laughter) - I see that people are just going out. You know, they're expressing their support and their solidarity. They feel they have - they feel the urge to go out together. So you have an enormous amount of people in the streets but just, you know, strolling, sitting in cafes with their children, jogging, you know. So it's a kind of normal day, in a way. And some of them are stopping by in (unintelligible) or near the concert hall where there were so many people killed to just pay their respects.

MARTIN: Let me ask you - this - these attacks of course came as Europe is having a very tense debate about the migrant crisis. And there has been this revelation that this Syrian passport was found at the scene of the attack. It's been traced back to Serbia and Greece. How likely is this to inflame the conversations in Europe about the migrant crisis?

KAUFFMANN: Well, we are starting to see this in Germany, I think, today. Now, the Syrian passport issued - we're not - you know, it's - nobody knows. I mean, of course, a Syrian passport was found. But did it really - (laughter) - do you have a...

MARTIN: There are questions about its authenticity. Yeah.

KAUFFMANN: You know, coming with his passport - we don't know. So - but that may be - of course, that will be used by opponents of opening borders to migrants. That's for sure. At the moment in France, the political controversy is not high because people are - you know, political leaders - I wouldn't say there is a total political union. But political leaders are cautious today. And tomorrow, the president, President Francois Hollande, will address both chambers of Parliament in Versailles. This is a very exceptional situation. It's something that is planned by the constitution, that the president can address both chambers. And I think he will look for support for his foreign policy and his strategy in the Middle East and his defense policy. But that means that there will be a debate, and it's quite healthy. I think we'll have this debate on foreign policy. And, you know, I guess people will be cautious not to link this too directly to migration issues.

MARTIN: Sylvie Kauffmann is editorial director at Le Monde in Paris. Thank you so much.

KAUFFMANN: You're welcome. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.