The French 2017 Presidential Campaign

Lecture | April 21 | 12-1 p.m. | 223 Moses Hall

 Emmanuel Comte, Lecturer of European History in the Department of History at UC Berkeley

 Institute of European Studies

The discussion will contextualize the election campaign within the broader set of problems affecting French politics, before turning to the programs of the four main contenders and the dynamics of the campaign. Among the major questions that have affected French politics in the recent years and decades, we will discuss the particular importance of youth unemployment, its role as a factor of exclusion, and the problems of trade deficit and public debt. All have been at the heart of most French public policies in the last years. The four main contenders are Macron, Fillon, Mélenchon, and Le Pen. They diverge mostly over a reform of the French labor market and over foreign affairs. Macron and Fillon advocate liberal labor market reforms, even though to a different extent, and, overall, the continuation of French foreign policies. Mélenchon and Le Pen want radical changes in French foreign policies. They are ready to exit the European Union (EU) and return to a national currency. Domestically, Mélenchon favors increases in taxation and in lower salaries. We will review the most important political changes that the campaign has so far demonstrated: the rise of anti-EU feelings and the demise of older political parties that had contributed to European Integration.

 heike@berkeley.edu, 510-643-4558