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France

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France – worker’s paradise or Steynian Dystopia?

11 April 2014 14:12

Un autre jour glorieux dans la lutte contre réalité économique. France’s major employers’ federation and two unions have signed an agreement whereby employees not subject to the country’s 35-hour labour… Continue reading

27 Comments
Image: Getty

The minimum wage is broken – here’s how to fix it

2 April 2014 14:34

While welcoming George Osborne’s emphasis this week on raising employment, I have some caveats about his target – to have the highest employment rate in the G7. This isn’t hugely… Continue reading

9 Comments
Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg, Kaiser Wilhelm II and General Moltke depicted in 37 Days (Picture: BBC)

The BBC’s march to war

18 March 2014 9:23

Perhaps we are growing war-weary – weary, that is, of the gathering storm of World War One documentaries on the BBC. There have been so many, not just Max Hastings… Continue reading

21 Comments
Film-maker Alain Resnais. Photo: Jean-Regis Rouston/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

Film-maker who divided critics dies aged 91

2 March 2014 15:02

One of the greats of French cinema, Alain Resnais (1922 – 2014), has died. His early films, Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) and Last Year in Marienbad (1961), which experimented boldly… Continue reading

4 Comments
Montpellier’s Antigone District by Ricardo Bofill. Photo: Patrick EOCHE/ Getty Images

France’s cultural excess is immoral (but I still love it)

21 February 2014 12:11

For a committed, if unsuccessful, capitalist, I enjoy French culture an embarrassing amount – every last state-funded drop of it. Give me five-act operas with cast lists the size of… Continue reading

12 Comments
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650 - 1722), in the process of winning the Battle of Blenheim 13th  August 1704.

French baiting from the PM?

31 January 2014 11:42

The French media might prostrate themselves before their own leaders; but they are a little more adventurous with ours. Le Figaro reports that the original plan for today’s Anglo-French Summit… Continue reading

27 Comments
All the president's women: Segolene Royal, Valerie Trierweiler and Julie Gayet. (PATRICK KOVARIK,VALERY HACHE,ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

The messy Hollande triangle reinforces the case for marriage

20 January 2014 11:13

Well, whatever about the French press, for British papers, the Hollande affair is the gift that keeps on giving. Apparently shored up in the presidential residence in Versailles, Valerie Trierweiler… Continue reading

45 Comments
Is it all over between Francois Hollande and Ed Miliband? (LEFTERIS PITARAKIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Does Ed Miliband feel betrayed by Francois Hollande?

15 January 2014 10:44

President Hollande’s private life continues to fascinate the whole world (other than the French press pack, obviously); but it is worth noting that the embattled president signalled a major shift… Continue reading

17 Comments
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Francois Hollande is hacked off with the press

14 January 2014 19:03

Francois Hollande, was framed by a set of panto-esque red curtains as he attempted to conduct a gigantic U-turn on fiscal policy while simultaneously fending off interest in the identity… Continue reading

6 Comments
Image: Getty

A bad week for ‘President Normal’ just got worse

14 January 2014 17:24

So she’s been fired! We now know why Valérie Trierweiler, the established companion of the president of the republic is currently in hospital suffering from ‘a severe case of the blues’.… Continue reading

79 Comments
The claims surrounding the alleged dalliance between President Hollande and the actress Julie Gayet become more fantastic by the day. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The President, his mistress and the Mob

13 January 2014 15:03

There was a moment when it looked like French Closer had done President Hollande a favour. His poll ratings have been abysmal and the economy has tanked. What better distraction… Continue reading

22 Comments
FRANCE-GOVERNMENT-HOLLANDE

What François Hollande’s latest crisis means for Westminster politics

3 January 2014 12:42

Beyond the slew of amusing ‘No man’s hand’ photos of the beleaguered François Hollande trying and failing to find support from other European leaders, there are a number of implications… Continue reading

64 Comments
Jane Birkin with Serge Gainsbourg. Image: Getty

Liberté, égalité, pornographie

10 October 2013 14:10

Bravo Melanie McDonagh. Your stand against the coarsening of society’s sexual sensibilities is very welcome. But it is not just in Britain that porn has gone mainstream. We French now… Continue reading

5 Comments
Image: Getty

It’s tempting to compare France’s National Front with Ukip — but wrong

8 October 2013 17:56

There is today only one united French political party, and it is the National Front. The FN has been profiting from a split French right, a hopeless French left and… Continue reading

93 Comments
Abu Qatada smiles as he evades deportation once again in April 2012. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/GettyImages)

Countering Terrorism in Britain and France, by Frank Foley – review

4 June 2013 9:18

Have you ever wondered why we’re stuck with the radical cleric Abu Qatada? It’s a question the last four Home Secretaries will have asked as they battled, and failed, to… Continue reading

16 Comments
Pierre Poujade addresses his troops. Picture: Getty

UKIP, Pierre Poujade and a political class that’s seen to be “out-of-touch”.

20 May 2013 15:49

Parliament is a “brothel”. The state is an enterprise of “thieves” engaged in a conspiracy against “the good little people” and the “humble housewife”. Time, then, for a party that… Continue reading

35 Comments
François Hollande

François Hollande’s great haul of China

27 April 2013 12:41

François Hollande has just completed his visit to China. The two great socialist nations more or less embraced: ‘I look forward to… working with you to make our relationship closer,… Continue reading

45 Comments
David Cameron has a round of meetings this week with European leaders. Picture: Getty

David Cameron makes the case for reform in Europe

8 April 2013 8:55

Germany has elections on the way, Spain is just about holding a lid on its economic crisis while keeping a wary eye on the uphill struggle that its neighbour Portugal… Continue reading

60 Comments
A statue of General Charles de Gaulle on the Champs Elysees. (JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)

A tale of two colonels

15 March 2013 9:05

This week, March 11th, marks the 50th anniversary of the shooting by firing squad near Paris of the last person (so far) to be executed by the state for political… Continue reading

16 Comments
Ioana Timoce sits at a cafe terrace with her new book. Image: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

Doing it the French way

21 February 2013 10:49

‘Where have all the great French writers gone?’ the people cry. Or at least they would if anyone was interested in French books. Translated literature claims just 3 per cent… Continue reading

5 Comments
Launch Of The Royal Navy's Newest Super Submarine

Europe's defence budgets may not be noble, but they are at least rational

19 February 2013 22:34

Gideon Rachmann is unhappy that european defence budgets are still falling: Since 2008, in response to the economic downturn, most big European countries have cut defence spending by 10-15 per… Continue reading

6 Comments
French Mirage 2000 D aircrafts flying over Mali. Photo: ABACA/PA Images

The Americans accuse the French of being too ambitious in Mali as British involvement grows

26 January 2013 12:16

It might have been pushed down the news agenda this week by David Cameron’s Europe speech and the bad economic news, but the situation in Mali is offering us a… Continue reading

39 Comments
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, speaking during the recent hostage crisis. Image: Getty

There is nothing new about Islamism in Africa

22 January 2013 13:12

The Algerian hostage crisis is over and the Prime Minister has warned that the focus of the al-Qaeda’s franchise has shifted westwards. In his statement on the situation, he was… Continue reading

16 Comments
French Mirage 2000 D aircrafts flying over Mali. Photo: ABACA/PA Images

Can the West solve a problem like Mali?

19 January 2013 12:08

I fear that we are all going to have to learn a lot about Mali and the Sahel—and fast. It is rapidly becoming the latest front in the war on… Continue reading

81 Comments
Tongolese troops being deployed to Mali Image: Getty

Mali could be the gamble that defines Hollande’s presidency

17 January 2013 18:16

The crisis in Mali is yet another unintended consequence of the Arab Spring. Specifically, they are a result of the revolution in Libya, where Tuareg rebels who supported Gaddafi were forced… Continue reading

43 Comments