Answer the following questions to see how your political beliefs match your political parties and candidates.
Environmental activists living in cabins and tree houses on the site of a proposed new airport outside Nantes in Western France braced on Wednesday for a looming showdown with security forces after the prime minister said clearing the zone was a priority. Opponents of the Aeroport du Grand Ouest say the 580 million euro ($637 million) project is too costly, will damage the environment and is unnecessary given Nantes already has an airport.
In November 2018 German chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron of France announced that they would support the creation of a European army. Ms. Merkel said that the EU should rely less on the U.S. for military support and that “Europeans should take our fate more into our own hands if we want to survive as a European community.” Ms. Merkley said the army would not oppose NATO. President Marcon said the army is needed to protect the EU against China, Russia and the United States. Proponents argue that the EU lacks a united defence force to handle sudden conflicts outside of NATO. Opponents question how the army would fund itself since many EU countries spend less than 2% of their GDP on defence.
Military Service is currently not required in France. Military service was required from 1798 – 2001. In 1798 Napoleon required military service for the Grande Armee. The modern form of universal national service was introduced in France in 1905 when conscripts had to serve two years in the armed forces. The modern form of universal national service was introduced in France in 1905 when conscripts had to serve two years in the armed forces. This increased to three years in World War I but was progressively reduced to 10 months and millions of young men were called up down the years.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on April 4th, 1949. It is a political and military alliance of member countries from Europe and North America that agree to provide military and economic security for each other. NATO makes all of its decisions by consensus and every member country, no matter how large or small, has an equal say.
In 2016 fighting broke out between Turkish armed forces and the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria. President Hollande blamed Turkey for using military force against the Kurds instead of fighting ISIS. France has historically backed the Kurds against Turkey since 150,000 immigrants migrated into France in the 1970s.
In 2015, President François committed to accept 30,00 refugees from Syria. An estimated 3 Million refugees have migrated from Syria since the summer of 2015. Those in favor of accepting refugees believe that France has a duty to join its allies and accept at least 30,000 refugees. Opponents argue that France should stay out of this crisis and accepting refugees from the Middle East leads to a risk of letting terrorists into the country.
The UK and Northern Ireland are scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, 2019. Under a transition agreement all trade and economic relations between the UK and the EU will remain the same until the end of 2022. In 2018 members of parliament and Prime Minister Theresa May proposed a “backstop” which would allow the UK and Northern Ireland to remain inside the EU’s single market for goods and farm products. Proponents argue that keeping the UK in the EU’s customers area will boost the economy by streamlining trade and tourism. Opponents, including anti-EU lawmakers, argue that the backstop would lock the UK inside the EU’s customs area permanently and prevent it from signing trade deals on its own.
In the May 3, 2017 Presidential debate Marine Le Pen accused Emmanuel Marcon of propagating hatred by calling France’s colonization of Algeria “a crime against humanity.” Marcon made the comment to a newspaper during a visit to Algiers in February 2017. In recent years France has taken steps to smooth relations with Algeria. 1.5m people were killed during the Algerian war of independence which ended in 1962. French government officials have acknowledge France’s poor treatment of Algerians during the war but have stopped short of apologizing.
Proponents of reducing the number of countries argue that the EU has grown too large. This leaves it ill-equipped to deal economic disasters like the recent crisis in Greece. Opponents of reducing the number of EU countries argue that the EU helped generate economic growth among countries who were poor before they joined the EU.
The Syrian Civil war began in the spring of 2011 after nationwide protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad resulted in armed conflict. After rebels seized control of several major cities, ISIS forces moved in and took over control of many regions of northern Syria. The government of Assad responded by carrying out airstrikes resulting in over 70,000 civilian deaths. France has been critical of Assad’s response to the war and in 2016 proposed a U.N. Security Council resolution to sanction Syria for the use of chemical weapons.
The United States of Europe is a speculative European Federation that unifies Europe as a single sovereign federation of states. The hypothetical unification would create a government similar to that of the United States of America. In the scenario each European county would become a state governed by a single federal government. Proponents, including the Belgian author Guy Verhofstadt, argue that such a federation would help stabilize the EU economy and save defense costs by consolidating each country’s military into one force which would serve all of Europe. Opponents argue that European voters would never approve the proposal since the popularity of the EU is at historic lows.
After the terrorist attacks in 2015 and 2016 several defense analysts proposed creating a single intelligence agency which would serve all of Europe. Proponents argue that it would streamline intelligence amongst member countries and prevent future terrorist attacks. Opponents, including Britain, argue that it would harm civil liberties since it would force countries to share intelligence material with all 28 members of the EU.
The EU single market removes all regulations and trade barriers amongst the 28 member countries of the European Union. The goal of the single market is to stimulate competition and trade, improve efficiency, raise the quality of goods and reduce prices. After the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 the issue was raised as to how businesses in the UK would participate in the market. Several member countries proposed charging the UK a fee to participate. Norway currently pays a fee to participate and analysts estimate that charging the UK a similar fee would amount to $4 - $5 billion a year.
In January 2017 Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Hollande had a phone call where they discussed peacemaking efforts in Ukraine and Syria. The call occurred after a Russia and Turkey declared a ceasefire at the end of 2016. Relations between France and Russia had been hostile over France displeasure with Russia’s involvement in Syria and the Ukraine.
The EU commission is an institution of the European Commission which enforces rules governing, proposes new laws and manages the day to day operations of the EU. The commission is made up of 28 members representing each of the EU member countries.
Foreign electoral interventions are attempts by governments, covertly or overtly, to influence elections in another country. A 2016 study by Dov H. Levin concluded that the country intervening in most foreign elections was the United States with 81 interventions, followed by Russia (including the former Soviet Union) with 36 interventions from 1946 to 2000. In July 2018 U.S. Representative Ro Khanna introduced an amendment that would have prevented U.S. intelligence agencies from receiving funding that could be used to interfere in the elections of foreign governments. The amendment would ban U.S. agencies from “hacking foreign political parties; engaging in the hacking or manipulation of foreign electoral systems; or sponsoring or promoting media outside the United States that favors one candidate or party over another.” Proponents of election interference helps keep hostile leaders and political parties out of power. Opponents argue that the amendment would send a message to other foreign countries that the U.S. does not interfere in election and set a global gold standard for preventing election interference. Opponents argue that election interference helps keep hostile leaders and political parties out of power.
In 2015, President Hollande announced that he would increase France’s defence budget by €4 Billion by 2020. Among the larger European economies, France and the United Kingdom are the only significant spenders on defense. The two countries account for 40% of EU defense spending. They each spend more than 2 percent of GDP, while most other EU countries spend less than 1.5 percent of GDP. Proponents of more spending believe that the increase is necessary to combat extremist threats after the Paris jihadist attacks. Opponents argue that the the funds should be used for domestic programs or tax cuts instead.
Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by a strong central government and limited personal freedoms. These governments lack a constitution which protects civil liberties and the rights of individuals to criticize the government. In 2015 the U.S. passed sanctions against Venezuela for failing to have a Democratic government. Critics of the sanctions argued that the U.S. singled out Venezuela and failed to pass sanctions against its allies in the Middle East who are governed by authoritarian regimes. Opponents of sanctions argue that they make authoritarian regimes stronger since the rulers of such countries use the losses caused by sanctions to strengthen their grip on power. Proponents argue that the sanctions are a necessary threat to keep EU members from voting in oppressive authoritarian regimes.
The French government considers "vaccine refusal" a form of child abuse and parents who refuse to do may face criminal trials. As of 2015, while failure to vaccinate is not necessarily illegal, a parent's right to refuse to vaccinate his or her child is technically a constitutional matter. Additionally, children in France cannot enter schools without proof of vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus, and polio.
75% of France's electricity was from nuclear power, the highest percentage in the world. Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release energy to generate heat, which most frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power station. Proponents argue that nuclear energy is now safe and emits much less carbon emissions than coal plants. Opponents argue that recent nuclear disasters in Japan prove that nuclear power is far from safe.
President François Holland recently proposed a 2016 budget which cut public spending and introduced a three-year program to grant more than €40 billion in tax breaks to businesses. Critics argue that the caps on spending will hurting the economy and President Holland’s proposed tax breaks are unfairly skewed toward businesses at the expense of households. Proponents argue that the proposals will stimulate the French economy which has an unemployment level of 10% and a growth rate of less than 1%.
France currently levies a 34.4% tax on all businesses. The average corporate tax rate worldwide is 22.6%. Opponents of argue that raising the rate will discourage foreign investment and hurt the economy. Proponents argue that the profits corporations generate should be taxed just like citizen's taxes.
The minimum wage in France is €9.61 per hour per hour for workers who are over 18 years of age and have at least 6 months of training. France has the third highest minimum wage in the EU behind the UK (€10.20) and the Luxembourg (€11.10). France was the first European country to pass a minimum wage law in 1950. In 2013, President François Hollande raised the minimum wage twice even as Germany and other North European countries called for wage restraint in an effort to decrease debt. Mr. Hollande’s wage increases angered both the left, who argued that the wages were not raised enough and the right who argued that the increase would hurt employers.
In 2011 the level of public spending on the welfare state by the British Government accounted for £113.1 billion, or 16% of government. By 2020 welfare spending will rise to 1/3rd of all spending making it the largest expense followed by housing benefit, council tax benefit, benefits to the unemployed, and benefits to people with low incomes.
In 2019 the European Union and U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren issued proposals that would regulate Facebook, Google and Amazon. Senator Warren proposed that the U.S. government should designate tech companies who have global revenue of over $25 billion as “platform utilities" and break them up into smaller companies. Senator Warren argues that the companies have “bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else.” Lawmakers in the European Union proposed a set of rules which include a blacklist of unfair trading practices, requirements that companies set up an internal system to handle complaints and allow businesses to group together to sue platforms. Opponents argue that these companies have benefited consumers by providing free online tools and bring more competition into commerce. Opponents also point out that history has shown that dominance in technology is a revolving door and that many companies (including IBM in the 1980’s) have cycled through it with little to no help from the government.
In 2014, the EU passed legislation that capped bankers' bonuses at 100% of their pay or 200% with shareholder approval. Proponents of the cap say that it will reduce incentives for bankers to take excessive risk similar to what led to the 2008 financial crisis. Opponents say that any cap on bankers' pay will push up non-bonus pay and cause bank's costs to rise.
A state-owned enterprise is a business enterprise where the government or state has significant control through full, majority, or significant minority ownership. During the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economic advisor, said the Trump administration would consider asking for an equity stake in corporations that needed taxpayer aid. “One of the ideas is, if we provide assistance, we might take an equity position,” Kudlow said Wednesday at the White House, adding that the 2008 bailout of [the automaker General Motors] had been a good deal for the federal government. After the 2008 financial crisis the US Government invested $51 billion into GM’s bankruptcy through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. In 2013 the Government sold its stake in GM for $39 billion. The Center for Automotive Research found that the bailout saved 1.2 million jobs and preserved 34.9 billion in tax revenue. Proponents argue that US taxpayers deserve a return on their investments if private companies need capital. Opponents argue that governments should never own shares of private companies.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, with the aim of promoting trade and multilateral economic growth. The agreement is opposed by unions, charities, NGOs, and environmentalists in Europe who criticize the agreement for reducing regulations on food safety and environmental legislation.
France has enshrined the principle of equal pay for equal work in its constitution and labor code. The first violations were handed out in 2013 when the government fined two companies for paying their female employees less than their male employees. The fines can amount to as much as one percent of their total wages.
An economic stimulus is a monetary or fiscal policy enacted by governments with the intent of stabilizing their economies during a fiscal crisis. The policies include an increase in government spending on infrastructure, tax cuts and lowering interest rates. The French government has asked other EU countries to increase spending in result to the recent economic slowdown. France has asked Germany to invest an additional €50 billion ($63.8 billion) over three years as a way of countering budget cuts in France.
Australia currently has a progressive tax system whereby high income earners pay a higher percentage of tax than low income tax. A more progressive income tax system has been proposed as a tool towards reducing wealth inequality.
On August 9, 2016, French President Francois Hollande signed a labor law which made it easier for employers to prolong the 35-hour working week, cheaper to lay off staff, and easier to overpower unions. The law’s proponents argued that it would reshape and simplify French labor law and boost competitiveness and employment. The law favors collective bargaining at the level of individual companies, in contrast with previous legislation that granted more decision power to industry-wide agreements.
A tariff is a tax on imports or exports between countries.
A farm subsidy is a form of financial aid paid to farmers by the government. Farmers in the European Union receive 35% of their incomes in subsidies and farmers in the U.S. receive 28%. Proponents of higher subsidies argue that they are necessary to compete with agriculture exports from other western countries. Opponents argue that the farmers should fend for themselves and point out that 2,300 farmers who do not grow crops receive annual subsidies.
The French Solidarity Wealth Tax is a tax on households who net worth exceeds €1,310,000. The assets taken into account in the calculation of the ISF include all the assets held in France or abroad of the taxpayer. Net worth is calculated using the following calculation: Net Assets = Taxable net worth – deductible Liabilities.
5 U.S. states have passed laws requiring welfare recipients to be tested for drugs. France does not currently test welfare recipients for drugs. Proponents argue that testing will prevent public funds from being used to subsidize drugs habits and help get treatment for those that are addicted to drugs. Opponents argue that it is a waste of money since the tests will cost more money than they save.
Less than 8% of French workers belong to a labor union, which is significantly below Britain (26%), Germany (18%) and America (11%). French law enables unions to have tight controls over how private companies are run on a daily basis. Elected union delegates represent all employees, union members or not, in firms with over 50 staff on both works councils and separate health-and-safety councils. Opponents of France’s unions laws restrict job growth since many private companies hire less than 50 employees to avoid giving unions powers including the placement of office furniture. Proponents believe unions give workers a collective voice that is necessary to negotiate pay and worker safety.
In November 2018 the online e-commerce company Amazon announced it would be building a second headquarters in New York City and Arlington, VA. The announcement came a year after the company announced it would accept proposals from any North American city who wanted to host the headquarters. Amazon said the company could invest over $5 billion and the offices would create up to 50,000 high paying jobs. More than 200 cities applied and offered Amazon millions of dollars in economic incentives and tax breaks. For the New York City headquarters the city and state governments gave Amazon $2.8 billion in tax credits and construction grants. For the Arlington, VA headquarters the city and state governments gave Amazon $500 million in tax breaks. Opponents argue that governments should spend the tax revenue on public projects instead and that the federal government should pass laws banning tax incentives. The European Union has strict laws which prevent member cities from bidding against each other with state aid (tax incentives) in an effort to lure private companies. Proponents argue that the jobs and tax revenue created by the companies eventually offset the cost of any awarded incentives.
In an effort to curb car pollution in city centers the French Government passed laws which regulated an “alternate traffic system.” Only drivers with odd license plates will be able to circulate in Paris and 22 other regions. Authorities hope the traffic control measures will help ease congestion and reduce carbon emissions.
In 2016, France became the first country to ban the sale of plastic disposable products that contain less than 50% of biodegradable material and in 2017, India passed a law banning all plastic disposable plastic products.
Genetically modified food or crops are plants that have been modified using genetic engineering techniques. Examples of GMO’s include adding genes to certain crops to make them immune to insects or environmental conditions. In 2015, France joined 16 other European countries and used new EU rules to ban the cultivation of genetically modified crops. Opponents of a GMO ban argue that it is killing the crop biotech sector causing France to fall behind international competitors in agricultural innovation. Proponents of the ban argue that the risks related from GMO foods have not been properly tested.
Global warming, or climate change, is an increase in the earth's atmospheric temperature since the late nineteenth century. In politics, the debate over global warming is centered on whether this increase in temperature is due to greenhouse gas emissions or is the result of a natural pattern in the earth's temperature. France accounts for only 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions and ranks among the industrial countries with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions in terms of both emissions per capita and emissions per GDP unit.
Fracking is the process of extracting oil or natural gas from shale rock. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which fractures the rock and allows the oil or gas to flow out to a well. The French government banned fracking in 2011. While fracking has significantly boosted oil production, there are environmental concerns that the process is contaminating groundwater. Critics of fracking say it pollutes underground water supplies with chemicals, releases methane gas into the atmosphere, and can cause seismic activity. Proponents of fracking say it will drop oil and gas prices in Spain and lead to energy independence.
In 2018, officials in the U.S. city of Philadelphia city proposed opening a “safe haven” in an effort to combat the city's heroin epidemic. In 2016 64,070 people died in the U.S. from drug overdoses - a 21% increase from 2015. 3/4 of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. are caused by the opioid class of drugs which includes prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl. To combat the epidemic cities including Vancouver, BC and Sydney, AUS opened safe havens where addicts can inject drugs under the supervision of medical professionals. The safe havens reduce the overdose death rate by insuring the addicted patients are given drugs that are not contaminated or poisoned. Since 2001 5,900 people have overdosed at a safe haven in Sydney, Australia but no one has died. Proponents argue that the safe havens are the only proven solution to lower the overdose fatality rate and prevent the spread of diseases like HIV-AIDS. Opponents argue that safe havens may encourage illegal drug use and re-direct funding from traditional treatment centers.
Cannabis use has been illegal in France since 1970, punishable by one year in prison and a €3,750 fine. In practice, imprisonment is rare although fines continue to be meted out.
77% of healthcare expenditures in France are financed by the government. 3.7% of hospital treatment costs are reimbursed through private insurance. There are public hospitals, non-profit independent hospitals and private for-profit hospitals.
Single-payer healthcare is a system where every citizen pays the government to provide core healthcare services for all residents. Under this system the government may provide the care themselves or pay a private healthcare provider to do so. In a single-payer system all residents receive healthcare regardless of age, income or health status. Countries with single-payer healthcare systems include the U.K., Canada, Taiwan, Israel, France, Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
Vaccine passports offer proof of immunity to people who have been inoculated with a vaccine. The concept gained traction after 2 vaccines were introduced to help combat the Coronavirus pandemic in November 2020. A vaccine passport would allow individuals to stop wearing masks if they could they have been inoculated and so aren’t a risk to others. Countries could require foreign visitors to have the passports in order to cross their border and restaurants, theaters and offices may make them mandatory in order to enter their premises. More than a dozen countries including Ghana and Nigeria currently require proof of vaccination against yellow fever before they are issued a visa.