France is, after Germany, the most demographically significant country in the European Union (Eu), with a demographic growth rate (0.4%) below the world average (1.1%), but still higher. of most European countries.
According to topschoolsintheusa, the slow but steady French population growth is due both to a remarkable fertility rate (just over two children per woman), supported by social policies aimed at supporting the family, and to large migratory flows. A massive wave of immigrants came to France in the 1960s from former colonies in Southeast Asia and North Africa, especially from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Vietnam. A significant phenomenon starting in 1962, the year of the independence of the former Algerian colony, was the repatriation of the so-called ‘Pieds Noirs’, the French born in Algeria. The acquisition of citizenship, at the age of 18, by persons born in French territory of non-French parents was made automatic in 1997 thanks to the law on nationality. However, this has not dissolved the tensions linked above all to the poor integration of these communities into the French socio-economic system. These problems, especially after 11 September 2001 and the Paris attacks of January 2015, concern the Muslim community in particular French, the largest in Europe, accounting for approximately 7.5% of the population. The unease of the residents of some suburbs of urban centers, mostly of African origin, has repeatedly resulted in acts of violence and guerrilla warfare against the police. The approach of former president Sarkozy, which closely linked security and immigration, had sometimes placed it in contrast with the EU: this is the case of the expulsions of the Roma minority in 2010. As regards internal cohabitation, the focus of the debate French and European audiences have recently been drawn to the feelings of overt aversion towards the Jewish community by groups of French youth.
The French social protection system is founded on the principle of national solidarity and on a universalistic approach to welfare. In practice, this approach translates into the allocation of a substantial share of public spending to social protection measures, which thus act as a social safety net and include maternity support policies, pensions and unemployment benefits. In fact, France is among the first countries in the world for the ratio between resources allocated to welfare and GDP,but such an economic choice proves unsustainable in years of crisis: hence the unease of the French people towards the measures to reduce public spending that governments in recent years have been forced to adopt. The entire French population is insured through a basic scheme (Régime général or Régimes spéciaux). The French school system is based on the principle, enshrined in the 1958 Constitution, that compulsory and secular public education at all levels is a duty of the state. As regards the university sphere, two higher education institutions are included in the ranking drawn up by the QS University World Rankings in 2015-2016 and approved by the International Observatory on Excellence and Academic Positioning (Ireg): the École Normale Supérieure de Paris, located in 23rd place, and the École Polytechnique, in 40th place.
The French right ahead of 2017
One year after the next presidential elections, the race for the Elysée has already begun. The disastrous electoral polls and the dramatic drop in support to which François Hollande has been subject have reinforced the hopes of the center-right to emerge as a possible winner. In May 2015, the Union Mouvement Populaire (UMP), led by former President Nicolas Sarkozy, changed its name to Les Republicains. A move dictated in part by the need to break with the past of the UMP, tormented by the scandals linked to the financing of the 2007 electoral campaign and by accusations of corruption concerning Sarkozy himself. For the possible race for presidential candidate, the challenge is open between the former president Nicolas Sarkozy, the former prime minister François Fillon and the current mayor of Bordeaux, as well as former prime minister, Alain Juppé. The good electoral results obtained by the former Ump in the administrative elections of March 2015 could help the race of the former president Sarkozy; the other favorite is Alain Juppé, whose candidacy could also help broaden the party’s support base.
On the left, one of the possible candidates could be Manuel Valls, the current prime minister, belonging to the so-called liberal area of the Socialist Party. François Hollande has not yet formally ruled out his own re-nomination, despite his consent being the lowest among that of all the presidents in the history of the Republic. The Front National has greatly strengthened its position and an excellent result in the next presidential elections cannot be excluded: the challenge in the second round could therefore be between Marine Le Pen and the candidate chosen to represent Les Republicains. Despite the remarkable electoral successes collected locally, however, it is difficult to imagine that the Fn could realistically aspire to overcome the threshold of the double presidential round and conquer the Elysée.