In its latest study on household income and capital, France's statistical agency INSEE notes that the median standard of living in France fell by 1.1% between 2008 and 2013, a drop not seen since records began in 1996. For the 10% worst-off families the fall was even greater, with their income falling by 3.5%. The agency writes of an “unprecedented worsening of poverty in France”. Laurent Mauduit reports.
News of the British vote to leave the European Union has caused considerable shock in France, one of the founding fathers of the European project. President François Hollande has called for immediate action to revitalise the EU and after meetings with ministers on Friday will meet with Italian premier Matteo Renzi in Paris this weekend and with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday. On Tuesday the French Parliament will also debate the likely impact of Brexit on France and Europe in general. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.
Whichever way Britain votes in its referendum on EU membership this Thursday, French president François Hollande has promised new “initiatives” in the coming days to reinvigorate the European Union. Hollande himself has gone out on a limb by associating himself strongly with British premier David Cameron's opposition to so-called 'Brexit'. Meanwhile, as Lénaïg Bredoux reports, the French Left is itself split over the issue of Europe and how to approach it.
Traditionally, incumbent French presidents do not take part in primary elections when standing for re-election and are simply anointed as their party's natural candidate. And up to now France's socialist president François Hollande has insisted he saw no need for such a contest on the Left ahead of next year's presidential election. However, out of the blue the Socialist Party has just announced plans for a primary election in January 2017 in which Hollande will take part. Hubert Huertas considers whether the surprise move will give Hollande's dwindling re-election prospects new hope - or will simply finish off his chances altogether.
The French government’s labour law reform bill, now being debated in the Senate, has prompted fierce opposition from several trades unions, massive demonstrations across the country, and a deep political and social crisis. Opinion polls show a majority of the population are opposed to the bill, which reduces current protection for employees with measures that include easing conditions for firing staff and placing a ceiling on compensation sums awarded by industrial tribunals. But the government is adamant it will not negotiate the bill's contents. Martine Orange investigates the reasons for its unusual intransigence, and discovers evidence that the most controversial texts of the bill were demanded by European Union economic liberals.
The US neoconservatives may have been discredited by the political failure of their adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they have inspired a school of disciples in France who hold key positions in the presidential office and the foreign affairs ministry. René Backmann analyses the development of the French neocons and the influence they exert on President François Hollande and French foreign policy, and argues that their role in the multiple military interventions launched by Hollande has set in train a vicious circle of violence that is proving ever more difficult to control.