Answer the following questions to see how your political beliefs match your political parties and candidates.
Abortion is a medical procedure resulting in the termination of a human pregnancy and death of a fetus. In 2014 the French government passed a law which allowed women to get an abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy without providing a reason to their healthcare professional. This amended a 1975 law which allowed women to have an abortion if they proved they were in a situation of “duress”.
In May 2013, the French government legalized same sex marriage. The law allows all married couples to adopt children but does not provide state aid to help same-sex couples procreate. France is the thirteenth country worldwide to allow same-sex couples to marry.
LGBT adoption is the adoption of children by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. This may be in the form of a joint adoption by a same-sex couple, adoption by one partner of a same-sex couple of the other's biological child (step-child adoption) and adoption by a single LGBT person. Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 25 countries. Opponents of LGBT adoption question whether same-sex couples have the ability to be adequate parents while other opponents question whether natural law implies that children of adoption possess a natural right to be raised by heterosexual parents. Since constitutions and statutes usually fail to address the adoption rights of LGBT persons, judicial decisions often determine whether they can serve as parents either individually or as couples.
Euthanasia, the practice of ending a life prematurely in order to end pain and suffering, is currently considered a criminal offense. Assisted suicide is currently illegal in France. In 2013, President François Hollande proposed a law legalizing assisted suicide but it was defeated by France's official Ethics Advisory Committee.
Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal process whereby a person is put to death as a punishment for a crime. France abolished capital punishment in 1981.
In 2010, the Senate of France passed an act which prohibited “concealment of the face in public space.” The act was in response to immigrant Muslim women wearing a Niqab or burqas in public spaces. Proponents argue that the ban infringes on individual rights and prevents people from expressing their religious beliefs. Opponents argue that face-coverings prevent the clear identification of a person, which is both a security risk, and a social hindrance within a society which relies on facial recognition and expression in communication.
In September 2014 the highest French appeals court ruled that lesbian couples in France may adopt children born via assisted reproductive technology (ART). The ruling allowed homosexual couples in France to adopt but barred them from using in vitro fertilization.
In 2011 France's parliament passed a law forcing large companies to reserve at least 40 percent of their boardroom positions for women within six years. The law brings France into line with Norway, where quotas ensuring a minimum level of female representation in boardrooms were introduced in 2003 and Spain, where a similar measure was passed in 2007. In Norway 35.5% of boards contain women directors which is the highest percentage in the world.
In France, although women can serve in combat and overall women represent about 19% of all French military personnel, very few women actually serve on the front lines. UK researchers, noting French research from 2006, said 1.7% of women are combat infantry soldiers. Proponents argue that it will help the military retain more women, who tend to leave the services permanently when they have children. Opponents argue that allowing women to serve in these roles would limit the military's ability to fight in combat situations.
In 2016 the International Olympic committee ruled that transgender athletes can compete in the Olympics without undergoing sex reassignment surgery. In 2018 the International Association of Athletics Federations, track’s governing body, ruled that women who have more than 5 nano-mols per liter of testosterone in their blood—like South African sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya—must either compete against men, or take medication to reduce their natural testosterone levels. The IAAF stated that women in the five-plus category have a “difference of sexual development.” The ruling cited a 2017 study by French researchers as proof that female athletes with testosterone closer to men do better in certain events: 400 meters, 800 meters, 1,500 meters, and the mile. "Our evidence and data show that testosterone, either naturally produced or artificially inserted into the body, provides significant performance advantages in female athletes," said IAAF President Sebastian Coe in a statement.
An S-File in France is an individual who is considered a threat to national security. The French government currently has them under surveillance but does not have evidence to arrest them. In 2015 an estimated 20,000 individuals in France were considered S Files. Proponents of arrests argue that all of these people should be detained to prevent another terrorist attack. Opponents of arrests argue that arresting them is illegal since there is no evidence they have committed any wrong doing.
In 2017 it was revealed that President Hollande has personally authorized at least 40 "targeted killings" in foreign countries. The death toll includes French citizens. Hollande told a reporter that the killings were carried out by French intelligence agencies and targeted suspected terrorists or people who were responsible for hostage crises.
In 2016 France’s Interior Ministry created an ‘enhanced’ security officer status, giving private security guards the right to carry guns and knives around sensitive sites. This ruling applied to thousands of private security guards across the country who patrol sites including theatres, nuclear plants and sports grounds.
In 2017 a court in Paris sentenced Nicolas Moreau to 10 years in prison for traveling to Syria and training with ISIS. Prosecutors had argued that Moreau presented an "extremely dangerous threat" and warned that he risked returning to his "jihadist commitment" once released. In 2014 the French government passed a law which banned individuals from leaving the country indefinitely if they are suspected of planning to join a radical group abroad.
After the UN announced that 15,000 people had traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced that France would open a dozen de- radicalization centers. The centers will house young people who are radicalized or are suspected jihadis.
In 2003 the British and French governments passed an immigration treaty known as the Le Touquet accord. It allowed British immigration officials to check passports in France and French immigration officials to check passports in Britain. Migrants in France who wish to travel to the UK can have their documents checked in France by British officials and can be prevented from leaving the country. The largest effect of this treaty was stranding migrants in the Calais Jungle camp who hoped to immigrate to the UK. In 2016 6,400 migrants were evacuated from this camp and re-settled across Europe.
Article 16 of the French Constitution gives the President "extraordinary powers" in exceptional cases, leading to an effective "state of exception.” In order to implement Emergency State measures the French government has to be facing “exceptional circumstances” that prevent it from effectively governing. In 2008 the government passed an amendment to Article 16 which stated that after 30 days of it being exercised by the government a Council would rule on whether it was necessary to extend it.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An offshore (or foreign) bank account is a bank account you have outside of your country of residence. The benefits of an offshore bank account include tax reduction, privacy, currency diversification, asset protection from lawsuits, and reducing your political risk. In April 2016, Wikileaks released 11.5 million confidential documents, known as the Panama Papers, which provided detailed information on 214,000 offshore companies serviced by the Panamanian Law Firm, Mossack Fonesca. The document exposed how world leaders and wealthy individuals hide money in secret offshore tax shelters. The release of the documents renewed proposals for laws banning the use of offshore accounts and tax havens. Proponents of the of the ban argue they should be outlawed because they have a long history of being vehicles for tax evasion, money laundering, illicit arms dealing and funding terrorism. Opponents of the ban argue that punitive regulations will make it harder for American companies to compete and will further discourage businesses from locating and investing in the United States.
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.
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 government pension is a fund into which a sum of money is added during the period in which a person is employed by the government. When the government employee retires they are able to receive periodic payments from the fund in order to support themselves. As the birth rate continues to fall and the life expectancy rises governments worldwide are predicting funding shortfalls for pensioners. In 2013 the government implemented new pension rules which included raising the number of years a worker had to be employed by the government to work to 43 years from 41.5 years. The government claims this will help erase the $12 billion shortfall by 2020.
A universal basic income is a form of social security in which all citizens or residents of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money from the government in addition to any income received from elsewhere. In 2017 French presidential candidates Benoit Hamon and Jean-Luc Bennahmias proposed plan to introduce a universal basic income of €750 (£655) a month, in what they described as a bid to combat the threat of robots taking over three million jobs. No countries in the world currently have a UBI although Finland is set to test it amongst 2000 citizens in late 2017.
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.
A Universal Basic Income program is social security program where all citizens of a country receive a regular, unconditional sum of money from the government. The funding for Universal Basic Income comes from taxation and government owned entities including income from endowments, real estate and natural resources. Several countries, including Finland, India and Brazil, have experimented with a UBI system but have not implemented a permanent program. The longest running UBI system in the world is the Alaska Permanent Fund in the U.S. state of Alaska. In the Alaska Permanent Fund each individual and family receives a monthly sum that is funded by dividends from the state’s oil revenues. Proponents of UBI argue that it will reduce or eliminate poverty by providing everyone with a basic income to cover housing and food. Opponents argue that a UBI would be detrimental to economies by encouraging people to either work less or drop out of the workforce entirely.
A tariff is a tax on imports or exports between countries.
Bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. Bitcoins are stored in a digital wallet, which is like a virtual bank account that allows users to send or receive bitcoins and pay for goods or services. Bitcoin is anonymous, meaning that, while transactions are recorded in a public log, the names of buyers and sellers are never revealed.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should treat all data on the internet equally.
Flag desecration is any act that is carried out with the intention of damaging or destroying a national flag in public. This is commonly done in an effort to make a political statement against a nation or its policies. Some nations have acts that ban flag desecration while others have laws that protect the right to destroy a flag as a part of free speech. Some of these laws distinguish between a national flag and those of other countries.
After the Paris attacks in November 2015 the government passed a law which allowed it to monitor phone calls and emails of people suspected of connections to terrorism without the authorization of a judge. The law also requires Internet service providers to install "black boxes" that are designed to vacuum up and analyze metadata on the Web-browsing and general Internet use habits of millions of people using the Web and to make that data available to intelligence agencies.
In December 2016 the French National Assembly passed the Sapin II regime which is a series of laws aimed at combating corruption. The law included a whistleblower protection clause which requires companies with more than 50 employees to establish a framework which protects whistleblowers from retaliation and grants them anonymity. The law does not protect or incentivize whistleblowing by implicated parties and the whistleblower must have firsthand knowledge of the facts.
A term limit is a law which limits the length of time a person may serve in an elected office. In 2008 the French government passed a constitution reform which limited the office of the Prime Minister to two consecutive five-year terms. Members of the National Assembly must be re-elected every five years.
In January 2018 Germany passed the NetzDG law which required platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to take down perceived illegal content within 24 hours or seven days, depending on the charge, or risk a fine of €50 million ($60 million) fines. In July 2018 representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter denied to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary committee that they censor content for political reasons. During the hearing Republican members of Congress criticized the social media companies for politically motivated practices in removing some content, a charge the companies rejected. In April 2018 the European Union issued a series of proposals that would crack down on “online misinformation and fake news.” In June 2018 President Emmanuel Macron of France proposed a law which would give French authorities the power to immediately halt “the publication of information deemed to be false ahead of elections.”
In 2016 Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he would consider a temporary ban on the foreign financing of mosques, urging a “new model” for relations with Islam after a spate of jihadi attacks. Proponents argue that it would help prevent foreign entities from funding radical mosques in France and prevent terrorism. Opponents argue that the proposal is illegal under French laws which separate Church and State.
Article 49 of the French constitution details the relationships of power between the Prime Minister and Parliament. Clause 3 of this article (49.3) gives the government the power to pass a measure without a vote from parliament. The article allows the government to compel the majority if reluctant to adopt a text, and also to accelerate the legislative process, and in particular to end any obstruction from the opposition. The article has been used fewer than 90 times since its inception in 1958. In 2016 the government used the article to pass a labor reform bill which made it easier for employers to prolong the 35-hour working week, cheaper to lay off staff, and easier to overpower unions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 March 2015, Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi was removed from office during a civil war with the Shiite Houthis movement. The Houthis were led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was removed from power during the 2011 Arab Spring. Neighboring Sunni Saudi Arabia viewed President Hadi’s removal as a threat and responded by conducting airstrikes against the Houthi’s in Yemen. Saudi Arabia’s allies, including the U.S., U.K. and Egypt, suspected Iran was behind the Houthi uprising and responded by providing military aid to the Saudi armed forces. The United Nations declared the airstrikes a violation federal law after several hundred civilians were killed in the first month of the airstrikes . Proponents of the intervention, including Secretary of State John Kerry, claim that the Houthis are being supported by Iran and U.S. intervention is necessary to maintain the balance of power in the region. Critics argue that the U.S. should not be involved in a conflict which has killed hundreds of innocent civilians.
In January of 2016, North Korea announced that it detonated its first hydrogen bomb. CBS News reported that the U.S. intelligence community is skeptical that North Korea used a thermonuclear device. The blast was in single-digit kilotons, and a thermonuclear device is measured in megatons. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has been more ambitious than his father in the pursuit of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons, even in the face of warnings from China. Proponents of military strikes argue that North Korea crossed a line with its latest test and must be stopped at all costs. Opponents argue that North Korea repeatedly lies about its missile capabilities and that the we should let other countries in the region, such as China and South Korea, address this issue.
Since 1999, the executions of drug smugglers have become more common in Indonesia, Iran, China and Pakistan. In March 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed executing drug traffickers to fight his country’s opioid epidemic. 32 countries impose the death penalty for drug smuggling. Seven of these countries (China, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore) routinely execute drug offenders. Asia and the Middle East’s tough approach contrasts with many Western countries who have legalized cannabis in recent years (selling cannabis in Saudi Arabia is punished by beheading).
Private prisons are incarceration centers that are run by a for-profit company instead of a government agency. The companies that operate private prisons are paid a per-diem or monthly rate for each prisoner they keep in their facilities. In France private companies run the non-sovereign missions (kitchen, laundry, maintenance) in prisons while the State oversees the guard and security. Opponents of private prisons argue that incarceration is a social responsibility and that entrusting it to for-profit companies is inhumane. Proponents argue that prisons run by private companies are consistently more cost effective than those run by government agencies.
Felony disenfranchisement is the exclusion from voting of people otherwise eligible to vote due to conviction of a criminal offense, usually restricted to the more serious class of crimes deemed felonies. Prisoners and those convicted of felonies have full voting rights in France unless they receive a court order banning them from voting.
French prisons have reached an average rate of occupancy of 116.6%. Overcrowding is mainly present in short-stay prisons, where they hold both sentenced people and people awaiting trial. France’s prisons rank third in Europe for overcrowding according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, with official figures showing there are 68,253 people incarcerated but places for only 58,587. France unveiled plans on Thursday to build 33 new jails and renovate older ones in a bid to ease chronic overcrowding that justice officials say breeds conditions for Islamist radicalisation of prisoners.
In most countries, suffrage, the right to vote, is generally limited to citizens of the country. Some countries, however, extend limited voting rights to resident non-citizens.
By law, campaign expenses are subjected to a maximum ceiling, and spending in excess of that is illegal. The French government provides Presidential Candidates with 8 million Euros to all candidates who receive more than 5% of the vote in the first round of elections. Candidates who receive less than 5% are given 800,000 Euros.
The U.S. constitution does not prevent convicted felons from holding the office of the President or a seat in the Senate or House of Representatives. States may prevent convicted felons candidates from holding statewide and local offices.
A tax return is a document which states how much income an individual or entity reported to the government. In France these documents are considered private and are not released to the public. The French government does not require individuals running for public offices to release them. In Sweden, Norway and Finland citizen’s and candidate’s tax records are considered public information and are published on the internet.
The minimum age to vote in France is 18 years old. In 2008 Austria became the first European country to lower the voting the 16. In Germany 16 and 17 year olds can vote in a number of constituent states. Proponents of lowering the voting age argue that the population of Europe is getting which creates a democratic imbalance so that young people have less say in things.
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 September 2015 Angela Merkel and the European Commission announced a quota plan where 120,000 migrants would be distributed amongst members of the EU. Countries who refuse to participate would face financial penalties. Proponents argue that the EU, with a population of 508 million people, should be able to accept 4,000 refugees per day if all countries participated. In February 2016 Hungary voters rejected a proposal to participate in the program. Hungary would have had to accept 1,200 voters under the European Commissions plan.
Multiple citizenship, also called dual citizenship is a person's citizenship status, in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of more than one state under the laws of those states. There is no international convention which determines the nationality or citizen status of a person, which is defined exclusively by national laws, which vary and can be inconsistent with each other. Some countries do not permit dual citizenship. Most countries that permit dual citizenship still may not recognize the other citizenship of its nationals within its own territory, for example, in relation to entry into the country, national service, duty to vote, etc.
The American Civics test is an examination that all immigrants must pass to gain U.S. citizenship. The test asks 10 randomly selected questions which cover U.S. history, the constitution and government. In 2015 Arizona became the first state to require High School students to pass the test before they graduate.
In 2015 the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Establishing Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015 (Kate’s Law.) The law was introduced after San Francisco 32 year old San Francisco resident Kathryn Steinle was shot and killed by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez on July 1, 2015. Lopez-Sanchez was an illegal immigrant from Mexico who had been deported on five separate occasions since 1991 and been charged with seven felony convictions. Since 1991 Lopez-Sanchez had been charged with seven felony convictions and deported five times by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Although Lopez-Sanchez had several outstanding warrants in 2015 authorities were unable to deport him due to San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy which prevents law enforcement officials from questioning a resident’s immigration status. Proponents of sanctuary city laws argue that they enable illegal immigrants to report crimes without the fear of being reported. Opponents argue that sanctuary city laws provide encourage illegal immigration and prevent law enforcement authorities from detaining and deporting criminals.