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Tag Archives: France

France 2017: How the padlock was shut

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Remember The Day of the Jackal? This thrilling movie released in 1973 and featuring Edward Fox as enigmatic contract killer, is based on the failed attempt to assassinate Charles de Gaulle on 22 August 1962 by the paramilitary underground organisation OAS (‘Organisation de l’armée secrète’), composed by extreme right-wing activists who considered the Evian Treaty, […]

France 2017: The primaries and the secondaries

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The French are still numerous to consider voting both a right and a duty (‘un devoir citoyen’, as they say). This is probably why turnout – despite a wide-spread feeling that nothing ever changes – has been remarkably stable over the decades, especially at the presidential elections. Even the lowest participation ever (71.6% in the […]

Ref: France (2017), Campaigns, Elections, Hangover (forthcoming).

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Before the next Tour de France starts on the 1st of July from the banks of the Rhine, the entire country will embark on a seven-month election marathon, beginning with three primaries, one of which (the Greens’) is already half-way through, with ‘the Right and the Centre’ to follow in November and the Socialists (or […]

Brexit: what does France think?

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Not that anyone in Britain cares what the French think. As a matter of fact, even the French themselves don’t care that much. They have other ‘cats to whip’ as they say around here: social unrest, terrorist murders, drunk hooligans. There have been surprisingly little surveys in this normally poll-obsessed country, and while the British […]

Brexit: What would Monnet and Schuman say?

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‘I remember going to London in 1950 to convince you to join the negotiations on the Schuman Plan, but you felt then as you do now that it was not possible to delegate national decision-making powers to a community.’ Said by Jean Monnet on 20 October 1957 at Harrogate, where he addressed the delegates of […]

Inspired by Spain?

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Only three months ago, I asked myself in these columns how a politically aware French citizen could you not be jealous of Spain and the renewal of its democracy that it is currently undergoing. Sure, the Spanish learning process is difficult: instead of living with the oh, so convenient binary system and its comfortable pseudo-stability, […]

The poisonous heritage of François Mitterrand

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20 years ago, when television broke the news around midday that François Mitterrand had died aged 79, the collective emotion in France was almost disproportionate. A surprising number of Parisians simply stopped what they were doing, went to their flower shop, bought one red rose and deposited it on the doorsteps of the former president’s […]

The pause button

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Between the murderous attacks on Friday 13 and yesterday’s national remembrance ceremony, living in France felt like the PAUSE button had been pressed. Everybody keeps telling everybody else ‘il faut continuer à vivre!’, but this sounds like one of these resolutions that are to be implemented at a later stage, not now. These rare moments […]

Border Blues

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I have been crossing the river Rhine north of Strasbourg between Iffezheim (Germany) and Roppenheim (France) for as long as my driving licence can remember. In the late 70s and early 80s, passport control and the usual question whether there was anything to declare were part of the ritual (although in a much more relaxed […]

Undiscouraged, but also uninspired

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This is the second of two blogposts on Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. The first one is available here. Ten years after the premature death of his constitutional treaty, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, now aged 89, is still an undiscouraged believer in the European project. Concerned by the current crisis of the European Union, he proposes in a […]

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