France in Global Geopolitics

21.04.2017

National profile:

Land boundaries total:  

  • Metropolitan France — 2,751 km;
  • French Guiana — 1,205 km.

Bordering countries: 

  • Metropolitan France — Andorra 55 km, Belgium 556 km, Germany 418 km, Italy 476 km, Luxembourg 69 km, Monaco 6 km, Spain 646 km, Switzerland 525 km;
  • French Guiana — Brazil 649 km, Suriname 556 km.

Geopolitical profile: France, officially the French Republic, is a country located in Western Europe, with many overseas regions and territories. Metropolitan France is bound by the Alps in the southeast and the Pyrenees in the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea in the south and the Atlantic in both the west and north, the river Rhine and the low mountains of the Ardennes, Vosges and Jura in the east. It is bordered by Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Andorra, and Monaco. France’s location makes it a gateway between northern and southern regions of the continent. The largest city and capital of France is Paris.

The French overseas territories include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

In 2016, the population of France was estimated at 66,689,000, which ranks 20th in the world. The total area is 643,801 square kilometers. 

Position on the geopolitical map: Rimland. Presently Atlanticist geopolitical orientation 

Geopolitical balance: Atlanticism among French ruling elite although there is an intensive search for an alternative to the American ideology

Main geopolitical allies: Germany, Italy, Spain, the US, other NATO countries and the European Union

Opponents: Russia, Syria

Neutrality: Australia and Oceania, South America, Asia

Sphere of national interests: Western and Southern Europe, the Middle East, the north-eastern South America, the Mediterranean coast and several island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans

International disputes: 

  • France was one of the founding members of NATO.
  • 1966 — Charles De Gaulle ordered France’s withdrawal from all NATO military activities. De Gaulle adopted a foreign policy independent of the Anglo-American axis. This decision was formally reversed in March 2009 by Nicolas Sarkozy.
  • March 2009 — France's entry into NATO, a betrayal of the Gaullist heritage, official French submission to the control of the American command.
  • Since the end of the Cold War, France has continually been one of the leading contributors to NATO operations: France contributed to operations in Bosnia from 1993 to 1994, participated in the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, committed forces in Afghanistan from 2001 and provided a considerable contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). 
  • Aiding the U.S in overthrowing anti-American regimes in the Middle East (Libya 2011).
  • France is the third largest contributor to NATO's budget behind the United States and Germany. In 2014, its contribution totaled €217.2 million.
  • Since 2014 — support for sanctions against Russia.
  • 2015 — Mistral dispute with Russia. The French government decided to terminate the Mistral sale contract after it came under intense political pressure from the US and its European allies seeing Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
  • Hostility toward immigrants has led to discrimination, social tensions, and incidents of violence. Terrorist attacks: January 2015 a mass shooting at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, November 2015 Paris attacks, July 2016 Nice attack.

Territorial disputes:

  • Madagascar claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands and Juan de Nova Island.
  • Comoros claims Mayotte.
  • Mauritius claims Tromelin Island.
  • Seychelles claims the Glorioso Islands.
  • territorial dispute between Suriname and French Guiana.
  • territorial claim in Antarctica (Adelie Land).
  • Vanuatu claims Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia.

Ethnosociology:

Ethnical structure: Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities; overseas departments: black, white, mulatto, East Indian, Chinese, Amerindian.

Religious structure: Christian (overwhelmingly Roman Catholic) 63-66%, Muslim 7-9%, Buddhist 0.5-0.75%, Jewish 0.5-0.75%, other 0.5-1.0%, none 23-28% (France is a secular country, and does not collect data on religion in its census).

Language: French (official) 100%, France also has a wide range of regional languages, although none of them have official status; overseas departments: French, Creole patois, Mahorian (a Swahili dialect).

Language Map of France

Languages in France // Sourse:http://countrydigest.org/france-population/

Political Ideology:

Political schema: France is a semi-presidential republic which politics determined by the French Constitution of the French Fifth Republic. The executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, currently François Hollande (2016), who is head of state, and the Government, led by the president-appointed Prime Minister.

The French parliament is a bicameral legislature comprising the National Assembly and the Senate.

The main political parties are the Socialist Party (François Hollande), the Union for a Popular Movement (Nicolas Sarkozy) and the National Front (Marine Le Pen is the current leader). 

The National Front is the political force that is opposed to the ideology of the American system in France. The criticism of the EU’s migration policy, Euroscepticism, a focus on conservatism and the preservation of traditions (family, marriage, religion), and the criticism of the Atlanticist French ruling elite is reflected in the political space and the will of the French people, and is an alternative to the left-liberal government.

Geostrategy:

France has maintained its status as key power in Western Europe because of its size, location, strong economy, and membership in European organizations. It supports the development of a European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) as the foundation of efforts to enhance security in the European Union.

Until 1968, an anti-American policy was carried out in France largely through the efforts of President de Gaulle. After May 1968, American ideology began to enter into French politics, and liberal/libertarian became the main ideology, which had as its main objective the destruction of: 1) the social left model (which was protected by the French Communist Party), and 2) the moral right model (created by De Gaulle).

Geoeconomy:

France is a developed country and has one of the world's largest economies. France's tourism industry is a major component of the economy.

The leading industrial sectors in France are machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism.

  • Export goods: machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages.
  • Main export partners: Germany 15.9%, Spain 7.3%, US 7.2%, Italy 7.1%, UK 7.1%, Belgium 6.8% (2015).
  • Import goods: machinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals.
  • Main import partners: Germany 19.5%, Belgium 10.7%, Italy 7.7%, Netherlands 7.5%, Spain 6.8%, US 5.5%, China 5.4%, UK 4.3% (2015).

Transnational organizations:

France is a member of the United Nations (UN), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the G8, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). France was founding member of European Union (EU), the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), and holds one of five permanent seats on the UN Security Council.