Desiring Europe

harlem desirMeet Harlem Desir, the evoquatively named new Europe Minister and former General Secretary of the Socialist Party.  Pity Harlem Desir, who seems fated to do jobs that are just beyond his level of competence. Continue reading


Green with Anger, Green with Envy

It is becoming increasingly difficult to know what to make of the Greens.  With a groundswell of public support for their central platform (the world is burning and something must be done) and the privileged position of an electoral pact with the ruling majority party, the Greens have everything going for them.  And yet instead they find themselves continuously marginalised by the consequences of their own behaviour.  What role therefore for the Greens in French politics? Continue reading


400px-France_fond_de_carte_27_régionsIn two steps, Francois Hollande and Manuel Valls have shaken up the different levels of regional government more than anyone else since the Second World War.  First, the President announced a possible reduction of the number of regions in France, later confirmed to be a desire to halve the current number of 22 in mainland France.  Then Valls announced in his general policy speech that the timeline for this reduction would be short, and that the elected councils in place for the 101 departments would be dissolved.  In addition to the current reform of the groups of towns and villages (the communautes de communes) and the new metropolitan areas encompassing the largest cities, the way France governs itself is set to change radically over the next 5 years as a result of this administrative Yalta.  But how, and will it work? Continue reading

Newish Brooms

A new government withLa-photo-de-famille-du-nouveau-gouvernement-Valls lots of familiar faces, and indeed, familiar faces in the same roles.  Such was the general surprise caused by the new team on the left, particularly as the team appeared to be almost entirely composed by the President, rather than his assertive Prime Minister.  With so many old faces, how much has the reshuffle really changed the French Government? Continue reading