'Immigration, insecurity and Islam' to shape France's presidential election
The Agenda



France will elect a new president in April. Current president Emmanuel Macron's second-round opponent from 2017, the far-right populist Marine Le Pen, has already launched her campaign. And there are many others who could also take France forward. 

So, to discuss the country's political outlook for 2022 and beyond, The Agenda's Stephen Cole is joined by Jacques Reland, Senior Research Fellow with the Global Policy Institute. 


Reland specializes in French and European economic and social policies, ranging from welfare and immigration to macro-economic and fiscal policy. He also has a keen interest in French party politics, French and European foreign policy and Franco-British relations.

From 1988 to 2005, he was the senior French Economic Analyst for Oxford Analytica and produced over 200 reports on France's employment trends, as well as social, economic and labor legislation. He has also had his work on France's welfare system, monetary policy, corporate governance and the European Monetary Union published. He co-edited the book "Britain and Euroland" with Stephen Haseler in 2000.


Reland thinks the relationship between France and the UK in 2021 was in decline. France felt the UK used it as a scapegoat for rows over fishing as a distraction from the problems arising from Brexit. It is hoping that at some point this year, before the presidential election, relations improve because it is absolutely crucial for both countries.

Speaking of the political transition in Germany, Reland said France is very pleased with the new German government led by Olaf Scholz. They have similar agendas - they want to make Europe more assertive, more integrated politically, and to move towards greater cooperation on defense. "The events of last year, especially the AUKUS deal of the two submarines and the attitude of America, have shown that we (France) will always be the allies of America, but we must not be totally reliant on them."

Regarding the relationship with China, Reland says France and Germany want to avoid confrontation. They want dialogue with China and they both have an interest in maintaining good relations with Xi Jingping's government.


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