German Marshall Fund: What to Watch in 2017

Our Deputy Director Martin Michelot featured, among other experts, in the ''GMF Experts Name the Issues That Will Define the Year'' with his contribution ''France: Navel-Gazing Has Just Begun''.

Our Deputy Director Martin Michelot contributed to the GMF's ''What to Watch in 2017: GMF Experts Name the Issues That Will Define the Year'' with his piece on France's presidential elections entitled ''France: Navel-Gazing Has Just Begun''.

The presidential election in France this spring is billed as the next big challenge to the liberal order. Aside from the simplistic narrative, eager attention will have to be paid to how a potential François Fillon victory reconfigures French thinking and role within Europe. The conservative candidate openly called for a “Europe of Nations” which France would lead, already putting him in clear opposition with the mainstream of European integration.

The real challenge for France will be to deal with domestic instability. In June 2017, legislative elections will likely give the National Front (FN) a much smaller amount of MPs than the popular vote would command. Therefore, Fillon’s first real challenge may well be to have to stave off criticism about the inadequate representation of the electorate, one that will carry for the five years of his term, and will be amplified by the FN in case of a lack of success in implementing his vision for a “Europe of Nations.” In parallel, Fillon’s planned economic reforms could well cause a winter of discontent in French streets.

Europe will not be the priority of France’s next president. A France unwilling to weigh in fully in European decision-making will be a determining factor in the EU’s balance of power. 

You can read the whole article with all the experts' contributions at the GMF website.

#German Marshal Fund #GMF #French presidential elections #issues defining 2017 #experts #France #presidential elections

Martin Michelot
Senior Associate Research Fellow

Expertise: NATO and transatlantic security, European foreign policy and defense, French politics, elections and society, Visegrad Four and Central Europe, EU institutional issues

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