John Keiger

John Keiger

Professor John Keiger is the former research director of the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge.

All is not well in Macron’s France

The relationship entertained by French elites to their homeland is very different from their English counterparts. ‘England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality’, wrote George Orwell in 1945. That derisory sentiment continues today among Britain’s urban elites. French elites by contrast – though they can be highly

Macron’s humiliating climbdown over Aukus

Guess who turned up in Bangkok this week at the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting? The forum, which includes the US, China, Australia, Japan, Russia, but not France, was visited by none other than President Macron. ‘You must be asking yourself what a French president is doing here’, he charmed in English.  Macron claimed to

Is Macron trying to lasso London?

Some supporters of the EU might struggle with the concept, but Europe is about much more than just what unfolds in Brussels. The EU’s 27 states may be a large part of Europe, but the two are not coterminous. Nor, more importantly, do they all have the same interests. The newly created European Political Community

France and Britain are brothers in despair

Since Brexit, Britain and France appear to have drifted apart. Leaders from both countries have engaged in an on-off war of words. But despite these political fractures, Britain and France have actually come to resemble each other more closely than ever. It is now difficult to differentiate the economic, financial, social and political conditions that exist on both sides of

France loved the Queen

The tribute paid by France to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been heartfelt, fulsome and moving. French media across the board have paid generous homage, as though to one of their finest, to Britain’s longest serving monarch – surpassed in world history only by Louis XIV acceding as a babe-in-arms. This vicarious Panthéonisation was

The French buy-out that explains Macron’s strategy

It’s a platitude that France and Britain are rivals and have been for centuries. But, since the 1904 Entente Cordiale, the rivalry is more a question of competition than conflict. Always, in the darkest hour, each sided with the other, even if post-war they didn’t fully recognise the other’s contribution. Britain congratulated itself over the

Boris and Macron’s ‘bromance’ is rooted in despair

Is ‘Le Bromance’ really back on? Boris Johnson suggested as much at the G7 summit in Bavaria this week, where he strolled arm-in-arm with Emmanuel Macron. Yet when one considers the breadth of subjects the two avoided in their discussions – no Northern Ireland Protocol, cross-Channel migration, or Aukus – it is hard to believe the basis of

Emmanuel Macron’s future looks bleak

The single headline across the front page of the centre-left daily Libération said it all: ‘La Gifle’. But much more than a slap in the face, Emmanuel Macron has taken a heavyweight sock in the jaw. With only 245 seats for his ‘Ensemble!’ grouping, the French president is a country mile from having a parliamentary

Why is Macron so desperate to bring Russia in from the cold?

Emmanuel Macron should get a new historical advisor. He continues to repeat – this time at his Kyiv press conference on Thursday – that Russia must not be humiliated following its invasion and war against Ukraine. Politicians indiscriminately pluck at historical examples to justify controversial policies. For Macron, the aftermath of the First World War serves as

John Keiger

France could plunge the eurozone into its next crisis

In the French presidential elections, and now in the legislatives that will close on Sunday evening, the one issue kept under the carpet is finance. Neither the centrist Macronista grouping ‘Ensemble!’, nor the far-left Corbynista-like Nupes coalition of Jean-Luc Mélenchon has updated the electorate on how their manifestos are to be funded. And yet over

France is eternally divided

A lot happened in France last night. After a lacklustre performance, long disillusioned supporters were unable to summon any enthusiasm for Paris Saint Germain football team’s French league championship success. Emmanuel Macron was re-elected French President beating Marine Le Pen 58.5 to 41.5 per cent and the official disco party celebration organised beneath the Eiffel Tower finished

Marine Le Pen may reshape Europe – even if she loses

It has been a truism since the nineteenth century that international affairs do not decide French elections. Yet last week, only three days into the run-off campaign, Marine Le Pen gave a press conference setting out her foreign and defence policy vision. At heart, it’s a classic Gaullist project. Even if she loses, it could

Even if he wins Macron could be facing disaster

Unaccustomed as political scientists are to florid language, they have nevertheless come up with the ‘theory of the dyke’, to explain the continuing success of the nationalist and identitarian Rassemblement National. A dyke can hold back the flood for so long, but once water has overflowed there is no getting it back. When in 2002

France is on the brink of a political realignment

Until a week before today’s first round of the presidential race the French appeared to be shunning their favourite electoral contest. Polls showed that undecided voters, potential abstainers or those likely to cast a spoilt ballot was higher than in the past. Covid and the Ukraine war were blamed for having robbed French citizens of

Who’s to blame for France’s catastrophic intelligence failure in Ukraine?

From the outset of the war in Ukraine, the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence agencies have accurately predicted every twist and turn of Putin’s playbook. The United States, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have been linked in the world’s most sophisticated and integrated all-source intelligence gathering and analysis organisation since the Second World War. In doing so,

Did the end of the Cold War make conflict in Ukraine inevitable?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows, once again, that seismic shifts in the international order are inexorably followed by war. The adjustment invariably involves a declining power – in this case Russia, following the collapse of the Soviet Union – and a rising power – the West. So are we on the brink of a wider conflagration? Or

Why does Macron keep meddling in international crises?

Just two months from the presidential elections, Emmanuel Macron’s self-belief and risk-taking — not to mention setbacks — seem to know few bounds. And no more so than in foreign affairs. Following the French President’s telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin over Ukraine on 20 February, the Elysée triumphantly announced that a Biden-Putin summit was agreed

Zemmour, Marion Maréchal and the union of the French right

The news that the highly influential third-generation member of the Le Pen family, Marion Maréchal, will not be backing her aunt Marine for the French presidency is ‘brutal, violent and painful’, in Marine’s words. But beyond its emotional impact on the Le Pen family, for whom politics, betrayal and intrigue have always been of Shakespearean

Could Marine Le Pen be shut out of France’s election?

Could France’s upcoming presidential election risk destabilising the country, whether or not Emmanuel Macron triumphs? So far, nearly 40 candidates have declared their intention to stand in April’s poll. But to qualify, they face another hurdle: one which several key candidates, including Marine Le Pen, Éric Zemmour and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, are struggling to overcome. Together, Le Pen (16.5 per