Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 09/2012

François Hollande's Presidency: A New Era in French Foreign Policy?

Jean-Pierre Darnis

June 2012

Istituto Affari Internazionali


François Hollande’s election as president of the French republic seems to mark a political rupture, interrupting 17 years of right wing presidencies (under Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy) and a decade of conservative government. Hollande claims that he will be a “normal” president, in contrast with Sarkozy’s flamboyant style. This paper assesses whether Hollande’s presidency truly represents a turning point in France’s trajectory by gauging its impact on French foreign policy. The argument elaborated below is that French foreign policy is and will continue to be driven by strong continuities, although differences in style are likely to impinge upon France’s role in the world and in the EU.