Will France stem the tide of populism?

As France looks ahead to its 2017 presidential elections, one of many elections throughout Europe next year, the electorate’s decision will set the tone for the future of Europe, either encouraging or halting the spread of populism throughout the transatlantic community, said an expert on French public policy.

In introductory remarks at an event at the Atlantic Council on December 13, Dominique Moïsi, a senior counsellor at the Institut Montaigne, said: “The importance of France today can be summarized in one formula: the French… can demonstrate that the victory of populism is not irresistible. That somewhere you can say no to the temptation of populism.” Ultimately, “France will assume responsibility for the liberal democratic order,” he added.

“On the heels of a wave of electoral shocks across the transatlantic community,” such as the vote in favor of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union and Donald Trump’s election as the next president of the United States, the wave of elections in Europe presents a “critical juncture,” said Damon Wilson, executive vice president of programs and strategy at the Atlantic Council.

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Related Experts: Jeffrey Lightfoot, Jérémie Gallon, and Damon Wilson

Image: (from left) Sonia Dridi, a freelance correspondent with M6info, RTBF, BFMTV, and France24, moderated a discussion with Richard Wike, director of Global Attitudes Research at the Pew Research Center; Jérémie Gallon, a senior fellow with the Future Europe Initiative at the Atlantic Council; Jeff Lightfoot, a senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council; and Fran Burwell, vice president for European Union and special initiatives at the Atlantic Council. (Atlantic Council)