In his final new years address outgoing French President Francois Hollande has warned against rising nationalism in the coming year as the French Presidential elections rapidly approach. Although not taking part in the elections Hollande had said “There are periods in history when everything may change dramatically. We’re in one of them,”
The large fear of those in Europe as that the rising tide of anti-Muslim feeling in the west, due in no small part to terrorism fears and large scale refugee movements, is that Marine LePen the leader of France’s Front National may come closer than many would expect to becoming French President. Though this would have seemed inconceivable months ago, the rising tide of right-wing politics in the west have propelled the far right in to contention in many countries, France being one of them.
Any potential upset in France could also increase the likelihood of German Chancellor Angela Merkel being unsuccessful in her bid for a fourth term as leader of the country. It would also increase the potential for France to leave the EU. There certainly appears to be a taste in France for a move away from the union, and would be an almost certainty if LePen was get in to power. She was a vocal supporter of Brexit, and Donald Trump, and would certainly be able to call on significant support from the likes of Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. In response to Hollande she said “Talking of isolation for a project that, on the contrary, takes part in the flow of history, after Brexit and Donald Trump’s election … is a clear misunderstanding of the world’s evolution and peoples’ deep aspirations,”
Hollande also noted that “France will not let anybody or any state, be it the biggest one, call into question this major achievement of the international community,” this was in response to US President elect Donald Trump suggesting that climate change was a hoax. It is a worry that Trump will try to avoid the Paris climate agreement, as he has openly mocked the principal of climate change to the chagrin of many a leading scientist.
Hollande’s speech is notable as it is his last, he will worry that his legacy will be left in tatters if those on the right of politics in France and the wider world get their wishes.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.