Analysis

  • President Hollande's high-risk strategy over free trade talks with US

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    During his recent visit to Washington French president François Hollande surprised many observers by calling for a speeding up of the negotiations for a EU-US free trade agreement, the biggest deal of its kind in the world. The president's demands are in sharp contrast with France's earlier caution over the free trade zone, an issue which has provoked concern and opposition across Europe. For some, it also seems a curious stance to adopt just weeks before important European elections at which the proposed deal is set to be a controversial issue. Ludovic Lamant reports.

  • A French austerity programme that threatens all of Europe's economies

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    Last month, French President François Hollande announced a programme to cut public spending by a further 50 billion euros by 2017, on top of 14 billion euros already set to be saved during 2014. Mediapart economy and finance specialist Martine Orange analyses the potentially disastrous effects that such drastic and unprecedented austerity measures may entail for both France and the rest of Europe at a time when economies across the continent are threatened by deflation.

  • Anatomy of (another) retreat by the Hollande government

    Last Friday a minister insisted that the government's bill on the family was going ahead as planned. Then on Sunday a pro-family march by right-wingers attracted around 100,000 protesters and was hailed a success. By Monday morning the government had announced it would oppose any controversial amendments to the new bill – and in the afternoon it declared it was dropping the entire measure for at least a year. Lénaïg Bredoux and Mathieu Magnaudeix report on a retreat by the government in the face of protests.

  • Could an uprising in rural Mexico point the way to a post-capitalist world?

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    Un zapatiste cagoulé jouant du Guitarrón Un zapatiste cagoulé jouant du Guitarrón

    Twenty years ago the Zapatista movement in Mexico symbolised a rejection of capitalism that was later to feed into the global justice movement. However the prevailing mood in the West at the time was that fundamental change to the capitalist structure of society had become unimaginable. Then came the financial crisis of 2008, which caused a major re-think among many intellectuals and activists. Now French historian Jérôme Baschet has drawn on personal knowledge of the Zapatista movement for a new book in which he describes potential routes to a post-capitalist society. Joseph Confavreux reviews 'Farewell to capitalism'.

  • Yes, 2013 was a very good year...if you were rich

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    According to many financial experts, last year marked a turning point in which the world finally began to put the financial crisis behind it. But if 2013 was the year when stock and property markets recovered to pre-crisis levels, it was also a period when the gap between the super rich and everyone else widened to levels not seen for practically a century. In the United States, as much as half of national income went to the very rich, a concentration of wealth last seen in 1917. In Europe poverty has made a comeback, and the most disadvantaged are scrambling to feed themselves and their families. Martine Orange reports.

  • Why France must cure itself of its addiction to Nicolas Sarkozy

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    Nicolas Sarkozy, juillet 2013. © (dr) Nicolas Sarkozy, juillet 2013. © (dr)

    The media is constantly speculating about the likelihood of former president Nicolas Sarkozy returning to the political fray and ultimately challenging President François Hollande at the next presidential election. Here academic, author and Mediapart contributor Christian Salmon argues that it has always been apparent that Sarkozy would seek revenge for his defeat at the hands of Hollande in 2012, and that the 'will he, won't he' story of his possible return is simply a marketing ploy to get French public opinion acclimatised to the idea. The real issue in 2014, says Salmon, is how to wean France off its addiction to Sarkozyism before it takes hold of the country once again...

  • Why French intervention may only maintain the Central African Republic's woes

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    The Central African Republic (CAR), where French troops are engaged in attempting to restore order amid inter-religious violence and which has long been the scene of political chaos, is governed more by its influential neighbouring states than any true national leadership, writes Mediapart international affairs correspondent Thomas Cantaloube. In this analysis of a complex and seemingly blocked situation for the country’s future, he concludes that the French military intervention is unlikely to remove - and more likely to maintain - the fundamental reasons for the turmoil in CAR.

  • Does French president François Hollande have an African policy?

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    France has just deployed troops in the Central African Republic capital, less than a year after it staged a military intervention in Mali. This latest use of force, coinciding with a French-African summit in Paris, has once again thrown the spotlight on what Paris's role in its former colonies should be. The old discredited policy of 'Françafrique', with its overtones of corruption, has been rejected. But what should replace it? As Thomas Cantaloube reports from the Central African Republic, President Hollande's current policy seems unclear.

  • François Hollande the geostationary president

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    As leader of the Socialist Party François Hollande was noted for his talent in blending opposites, for taking the ideas of rival factions and combining them into a compromise deal. But now, as leader of the country, is he in danger of becoming the president of paralysing contradictions? In a powerful critique of President Hollande's time in office so far, academic, author and Mediapart contributor Christian Salmon says that the government’s regular rows and blunders cannot just be put down to inexperience, and argues that the president has effectively surrendered to a neo-liberal agenda.

  • The 'series of balls-ups' that led to Hollande's Syria crisis

    French president François Hollande has made clear that France will join the US in military strikes against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, dismissing calls for a vote of approval beforehand in parliament. As illustrated in yesterday’s heated debate in the lower house, the National Assembly, political and public opinion is deeply divided, both over the legality and consequences of the planned strikes. Lénaïg Bredoux and Caroline Donati have talked to senior French officials and experts close to the Syrian dossier, many of whom agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity, to find out why Hollande appears to have been finally wrongfooted amid a rushed and chaotic final denouement to a crisis of more than two years, and which one government advisor says is down to “a series of balls-ups”.