Is France Still Relevant?

in French Politics, Culture & Society
Sophie Meunier Princeton University

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Is France still relevant? Asking this provocative question in honor of the late Stanley Hoffmann’s lifelong commitment to French studies, I examine the contemporary role of France in international affairs, in Europe, and in globalization. The article then analyzes the structural reasons for these shifts in relevance, as well as the possible political openings to break from the “stalemate society,” including the emergence of new “artists in politics.” I conclude by reflecting on how the current uncertain state of the world, which may be on the cusp of a tectonic shift precipitated by the advent of Donald Trump in the United States and the resurgence of nationalism in Europe, is both challenging what is left of France’s international relevance and providing it with renewed opportunities to play a meaningful role under the presidency of young, pro-European Emmanuel Macron.

Contributor Notes

Sophie Meunier is a Senior Research Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Co-Director of the European Union Program at Princeton. She is the author and editor of many books on Europe and globalization, including The French Challenge: Adapting to Globalization (2001). E-mail:

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