When China’s President Xi Jinping launched his flagship project on the “Silk Road Economic Belt” in Astana in the fall of 2013, followed by the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” in Jakarta a month later, few people in France took notice, except perhaps for a few experts in academic circles or research institutions focusing on China.
With the so-called “Gilets jaunes movement”, France has gone through a political mobilization which is both “déjà vu” and radically new. The “déjà vu” dimension is linked to the historical tradition of protest and political violence in a country where the representative channels and the intermediary groups are and always have been sociologically weak and politically illegitimate since the 1789 revolution. This French peculiarity has little to teach to other democratic systems which are usually better equipped with instruments of mediation both at the societal and political level.
In an interview given to several European newspapers last June, the recently elected French president Emmanuel Macron took a new position regarding Syria and the future of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad: France no longer sees his departure as a priority to bring peace back to the country. “Because no one has introduced me to his legitimate successor”, Macron added.
Les résultats du premier tour des élections présidentielles françaises sont un message clair et pour la France et pour l’Europe. Le nouveau Président de la République Française sera Emmanuel Macron (24,01% des suffrages exprimés) ou Marine Le Pen (21,30% des suffrages exprimés).
France has suffered terrorist attacks since the end of WWII. The terrorism stemming from former colonies in the mid-1950s; the terrorism of international communism (Action Directe) and the internationalized Middle-Eastern terrorism (Carlos and the Palestinians at least). Since 1995, France has been the target of attacks by radical Islam terrorism.
Since the terrorism wave in Europe started with Charlie Hebdo and the Paris attacks in November, Brussels has been presented as the crib of foreign fighters in Europe. The attacks of yesterday morning in the city, which is the heart of the European Institutions, have demonstrated that Brussels is not just the nest where the eggs are brooded, on the contrary it could be the vulnerable theatre of terrorism and fear.
Alexander Lukashenko that hosted the summit in Minsk could barely hide his happiness. He did not take a direct part in the 16-hours long negotiations, but got a precious opportunity to transform his status from the one of “the last European Dictator” into the one of the main European peace-maker with the European leaders paying a visit to him.
As the dust and emotions still settle over the attacks by jihadists in Paris, there has been a great deal of commentary on the lessons we should derive from this tragedy. The focus has largely been on free speech, integration, intelligence failures, and the competing claims of responsibility by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). So what lessons should we draw?
A Matter of Integration?
International reaction to the attacks on the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” and the Hebrew shop in Paris, in which seventeen people lost their lives, is not comparable to the attention for the Boko Haram massacre of an estimated two thousand people in Baga, North Eastern, Nigeria, earlier that same week.
Italy and European integration: general background
Despite periodical, yet relatively short fluctuations, support for the European Union (EU) has been a virtually constant guideline in Italian foreign policy for a number of reasons, notably EU’s perceived role as a vehicle of pan-European geopolitical stability, economic re-distribution and socio-cultural modernisation.
To what extent has the French intervention weakened the African Union leadership on the Malian crisis?
François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy are often said to be deeply opposed. The first would be more inclined to maintaining public spending, which does not fit with the current European budgetary discipline policies. The second, more experienced at the helm, would have the benefit of greater credibility on European issues. This crude opposition is too simplistic to be satisfying.