Politics

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…


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…


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:…


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…


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…


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…


Paris Mayor Hopeful Makes Waves With London Comments

Socialist Anne Hidalgo, running hard to become Paris' first female mayor, created headlines in France and abroad with barbed comments about London when she met with the AAPA at her campaign headquarters Jan. 17.   During a lively meeting with 25 AAPA members, the popular first deputy mayor defended the track record of outgoing mayor Bertrand Delanoé, who she pledged to follow if elected. In…


Le Pen Predicts the Demise of “Bi-polar” Politics in France

  It was a classic performance by Marine Le Pen when she met with the AAPA on Jan. 19.   Ever-combative and dynamic but with a twist of selective moderation that fits the new image of the National Front leader as she tries to reshape the image of her far-right party, she is embarking on a skilful marketing campaign ahead of upcoming French municipal and European elections.   Ms. Le…


French PM Hosts AAPA for a Second Time

  Prime Minister Jean-Mark Ayrault once again took time from his busy schedule to talk to AAPA members on May 23 over lunch at the Hôtel Matignon. As with the previous session on April 11, Mr. Ayrault requested that his remarks be off-record. The conversation covered a wide area, including the French and German political scenes and the controversial "marriage pour tous" legislation, and…


P.M. Ayrault Discusses Strategy, Challenges with the AAPA

Despite a hectic schedule and pressing affairs of state, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault took time out to host a lunch for AAPA members at Hotel Matignon on April 11 during which he explained the priorities for his government and addressed some of the challenges facing France and Europe today. In a relaxed atmosphere in one of the dining rooms at his prestigious residence, Ayrault, in combative…