France is in bad shape. Germany’s most important European partner will likely exceed the 3 percent deficit limit set by the euro zone in 2018. Unemployment is at almost 10 percent. A lack of competitive ability is destroying whole branches of industry and even the slightest effort at reform gets bogged down in union disputes. Even worse, for what seems like an eternity, France’s political elite has been unable to present people with any programs or candidates that even come close to being convincing.
On the contrary, they continue to distance themselves from voters’ reality. And so it is that Marine Le Pen, with her right-wing populism and isolationism, is determining the debates of the day – and on April 23, has a chance of coming out of the ballot as the winner.
But this is only one part of the French reality and the answers presented are often too simplistic. There is no one cause and therefore, no one solution for “the French problem.”
Like many industrialized nations in the era of globalization, French society is also marked by contrasts, differing dynamics and complex and multifaceted tension.