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France 2017: The Party Formerly Known as Socialist

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On a study trip to Brussels about fifteen years ago, a major French socialist MEP gave a good lesson in French political semantics to my student group. In a nutshell, she explained that she and her group were perfectly at ease working with all the Social-Democrats from Germany or Sweden and elsewhere, as well as […]

Two years on, how Charlie can you be?

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Already two years since the Charlie Hebdo shootings, which in hindsight look like a prelude to a series the end of which does not seem to be in sight. Is Europe still Charlie? Many Europeans, the large majority of whom had never heard of this magazine before, still claim they are, and there is no […]

France 2017: Happy New Year? You must be joking!

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Come January, social pressure runs higher than ever in France. If you do not wish a smashing ‘Bonne année!’ to absolutely anybody you may come across during the entire month, you’re a social outcast. The Elysée is of course not exempt from this pressure: one of the most bizarre rituals of the French Republican Monarchy […]

France 2017: The Undertakers

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After yet another eventful week marked by Hollande’s renouncement television address, French citizens can now be sure that neither of their two last presidents will be on their ballots for the presidential elections next spring. While the media would have loved to play a game of thrones, unfolding the ‘revenge’ narrative and ask Sam to […]

France 2017: The unexpected rehabilitation of an adjective

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For as long as I have lived in this country – a quarter century, after all – the surest way for French politicians to put an end to their political career was to make a statement, however prudent, in favour of ‘liberalism’. Once labelled a ‘liberal’, you could be sure to be turned in no […]

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