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[23 Mar 2017 | Comments Off on The EU Couldn’t Survive Le Pen Presidency – INSEAD professor]
The EU Couldn’t Survive Le Pen Presidency – INSEAD professor

“It would be almost impossible for the EU to survive if Marine Le Pen should win the up-coming French Presidential elections and withdraw France from it,”  INSEAD Political Science Professor Douglas Webber told 17 AAPA members on March 21.
“Europe can survive without the UK, but not without France. It would be a political earthquake,” he continued, referring to Le Pen’s vow to negotiate new EU membership terms if she wins the election and then put them to a referendum.
Prof. Webber spoke to us at an evening event at Café Falstaff …

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[10 Jan 2017 | Comments Off on Marine Le Pen Asserts Controversial Positions on EU, Russia]
Marine Le Pen Asserts Controversial Positions on EU, Russia

The AAPA kicked off 2017 with a news-making event on Jan. 6 when nearly 60 members met with one of France’s top political personalities – National Front party leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.
The timing was ideal, with the French presidential elections just four months away and Ms. Le Pen increasingly tipped to secure a place in the runoff round of voting on May 7.
After Brexit and Donald Trump, the world’s eyes are now on Le Pen. Will a populist wave also carry France’s far right leader to the …

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[4 Jul 2016 | Comments Off on French Deputy Is Appalled by U.K.’s Brexit Vote]
French Deputy Is Appalled by U.K.’s Brexit Vote

The vote by British citizens in favor of the U.K. leaving the European Union has created a “ludicrous” situation, with the proponents of exiting the 28-nation group not seeming to have prepared a plan of action, the head of the Foreign Affairs Commission of France’s National Assembly told the AAPA.
Speaking to over a dozen AAPA members in the commission’s meeting room on June 27, just a few days after the U.K. referendum, Elisabeth Guigou noted that the campaign of the “leave” faction had ignited xenophobic and racist tendencies in part …

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[26 Jun 2016 | Comments Off on Israeli Envoy Reaffirms Need for Direct Talks With Palestine]
Israeli Envoy Reaffirms Need for Direct Talks With Palestine

Future discussions on breaking the deadlock between Israel and Palestine require a direct dialog without preconditions between the two states, and not a multilateral approach as favored by Palestinian leaders, Israeli Ambassador Aliza Bin-Noun told us on June 21.
Speaking to 15 AAPA members over breakfast at the Israeli embassy, Ms. Bin-Noun reasserted Israel’s hostility to French-led attempts to broker a peace agreement. Some 30 diplomats and ministers from Arab and western countries, the U.N. and the E.U. met in Paris at the initiative of the French government on June 3, …

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[19 Oct 2015 | Comments Off on Hollande’s Diplomatic Advisor Meets the AAPA]
Hollande’s Diplomatic Advisor Meets the AAPA

A group of AAPA journalists were given a rare opportunity last October 6 to meet with Jacques Audibert, France’s top diplomatic advisor to President Francois Hollande.

In the impressive setting of the Hotel Marigny, where heads of state are usually housed and entertained on official visits, Audibert discussed key foreign policy issues in a 90-minute “off-the-record” exchange, touching principally on Syria, Ukraine, Iran, Mali and France’s relations with Russia, the United States and with its European Union partners.
The meeting was cordial and relaxed and allowed the AAPA to continue its tradition …

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[23 Jun 2015 | Comments Off on France to Push Through Health Service Reforms]
France to Push Through Health Service Reforms

France’s national health service may be one of the best in the world, but it urgently needs reform to make it more efficient and less costly, Marisol Touraine, Minister of Social Affairs, Health and Women’s Rights, told a breakfast meeting with 25 AAPA members on June 16.
 
Speaking in her ministry’s dining room with a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower, Ms. Touraine spent nearly 90 minutes explaining in plain terms her thoughts on a variety of topics ranging from her plans for the health system to euthanasia and alcohol abuse.
She said she is against euthanasia, but in …

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[1 May 2015 | Comments Off on Helping in Trouble Spots Carries Risks, Fabius Says]
Helping in Trouble Spots Carries Risks, Fabius Says

France is eager to help out in the world’s trouble spots, but there’s also a risk that a big Western power coming to the aid of the citizens of a foreign country can actually aggravate a situation, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told more than 30 AAPA members on April 16.
 
Meeting “on-the-record” for over an hour with us in the ornate salons of the Quai d’Orsay, Mr. Fabius said: “There are indeed many, many crises, difficulties, hot spots in the world. The risk – and we should bring what help …

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[4 Feb 2015 | Comments Off on France Confirms Crackdown Policies on Terror Networks, Radicalisation]
France Confirms Crackdown Policies on Terror Networks, Radicalisation

France is preparing tough, judicial measures to deal with terrorists, dangerous “jihadists” and those who justify “Jihad,” French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told two dozen AAPA members over breakfast on January 27.
 
Speaking three weeks after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, Mme Taubira told us that the government won’t compromise in its efforts to clamp down on people who justify terrorist acts via Internet  or in public speech. She also outlined the government’s plans to prevent radical prisoners from preaching extreme ideas to more vulnerable inmates, and announced plans to …

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[11 Jun 2014 | Comments Off on Government Spokesman Discusses Europe, National Front’s Rise]
Government Spokesman Discusses Europe, National Front’s Rise

Europe inevitably dominated the off-the-record discussion when AAPA members met government spokesman and agriculture minister Stéphane Le Foll days after the stinging defeat of ruling Socialists in May 25 European Parliament elections.
 
Le Foll and his advisers did not try to minimize the significance of the National Front’s first victory in a nationwide French poll. However Le Foll, a longstanding ally and confidant of Francois Hollande, expressed confidence in the president’s ability to bounce back from his record low popularity ratings.
  
About 15 members of AAPA also probed Le Foll on subjects …

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[17 Mar 2014 | Comments Off on NKM Briefs The AAPA on Her Plans for Paris]
NKM Briefs The AAPA on Her Plans for Paris

Right-wing candidate for Mayor of Paris, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (NKM), was the latest local, political figure to meet with the AAPA ahead of the March municipal elections and explain her positions on issues varying from transport to housing, ecology, taxes and security.
 
Around 20 of our members went to NKM’s campaign headquarters in the 2nd arrondissement on Feb. 27 for what turned out to be an informative, stimulating meeting. I was at times a challenging one for her as she fielded questions on issues ranging from local traffic management in the 14th …