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About Francis Ghilès

Francis Ghilès is senior research fellow at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (Cidob). He was the Financial Times's north Africa correspondent from 1981-95, and now contributes to newspapers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, El Pais and La Vanguardia. He is a specialist in emerging energy markets and their relationship to political trends, and has advised western governments and corporations working in north Africa

Articles by Francis Ghilès

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

John Tusa: a thoroughly enjoyable noise

London is the theatre where John Tusa has been “making a noise” ever since he arrived, at the tender age of six, in 1939, from his native Zlin. Book review.

A long overdue debate on the Tunisian economy

It requires great political skills to navigate the treacherous waters of transition towards democracy in a country beset by political infighting, rising inflation and indebtedness in a troubled region.

Simone Veil – a passionate believer in Europe

She was a tower of moral rectitude like that other great Jewish figure of French post war politics, Pierre Mendes France. In memoriam.

Merkel, Macron and the future of the EU

The results will tell us whether or not we are witnessing a historical shake-up of the French political scene. Meanwhile, pragmatism is what is needed both in Berlin and Paris.

US faces risks as Trump misreads the Middle East

Militarising the region further and taking sides in a recently concocted sectarian conflict will likely end in tears.

Will the feline Macron succeed?

“Enthusiasm for his victory is drawing investment into European equities. And French private sector employment has just reached a post-crisis high, giving a boost to wages.”

Restoring the Franco-German leadership of the EU

Britain for one is quite unprepared for the ultimate project of the new French president: the restoration of Franco-German leadership in Europe.

Francia: unas elecciones presidenciales históricas

El 23 de abril, los votantes tendrán que decidir si darle a Macron la oportunidad de reformar Francia o si prefieren llevar el destino de la república al desguace. English Português

This French presidential election is historic

On 23 April, voters will have to decide whether to give Macron the chance to reform France or whether they prefer to entrust the fate of the republic to a wrecker. Español Português

França: umas eleições presidenciais históricas

No dia 23 de Abril, os franceses terão que decidir se querem dar a Macron a oportunidade de reformar a França, ou se querem deitar o destino da república pelo cano abaixo. English Español 

Lies and manipulation threaten US media and politicians

If America under Trump begins to look like the old Middle East and Russia, the risks of a crisis getting out of hand are huge. Português Español

Manipulación y mentiras contra medios de comunicación y políticos en Estados Unidos

Si la  América de Trump acaba pareciéndose al viejo Oriente Medio y a Rusia, los riesgos de que una crisis se vaya de las manos son enormes. Português English

Manipulação e mentiras contra os meios de comunicação e políticos nos Estados Unidos

Se a América de Trump começar a parecer-se ao velho Médio Oriente e à Rússia, os riscos de que uma crise se torne incontrolável são enormes. English Español

With a more enterprising Russia, cards are reshuffled in the Arab world

A new power structure is emerging in the Middle East as Russia uses its intervention in Syria to position itself as an important partner for regional powers as diverse and opposed to each other as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel and Iran.

An inward looking Turkey in a turbulent Middle East

The deteriorating situation in Turkey since the failed coup raises many questions about the future of the country and its role in the region

North African diversities: Kabylia inheritances, Algerian wounds

A personal journey into Algeria's modern history, including the Berber heartland that has been its crucible.

North Africa and Europe: aligning interests

Tunisia and Algeria are at the heart of the region's anti-ISIS strategy. In dealing with them, the west must be guided by equality not hegemony.

Algeria’s transition to uncertainty

Algeria is facing succession scrambles and economic crisis. Why are the country’s leaders handing the country over to the IMF rather than use its political and economic talent? 

Something is rotten in the state of Tunisia

Tunisia’s foreign friends would do well to remember that in 2011 there was a revolution in, not of the system. The current state of stasis is not a good omen for the future.

France in Syria: under pressure

François Hollande has turned France into the United States's chief ally in the fight against ISIS. There are perils in this strategic choice.

Jeremy Corbyn's victory: a European moment

Europe's troubles have discredited elites and fuelled the populist right. Can Labour's new leader win an argument for change from the left?

The refugee crisis: Europe’s failure

A huge migration from the Middle East and Africa scarred by conflict is underway. It finds Europe, with rare exceptions, indifferent and in denial about its own past and responsibility.

Morocco, tensions of progress

Morocco has avoided the violence and instability of neighbours to the west. But to build a more inclusive economy it still has a hard route to navigate.

North African diversities: layered past, confused present

The many strands of a singular life - Berber and Algerian, Jewish and Islamic, French and English, Arab and European - make today's Mediterranean tragedy all the more painful.

Tunisia's dangerous drift

The massacre of foreign tourists in the coastal resort of Sousse highlights the mismatch between perception and reality in Tunisia.

Kamel Daoud, and Algeria's true selves

The journalist and author of The Meursault Investigation illuminates the way Algeria is torn between religious observance and the freedom of the individual.

Tunisia, bridging the gulf

The terrorist attack in Tunis highlights the challenges facing Tunisia's new government and underlines the need for western support in meeting them.

Algeria: diplomacy and regional security

Algeria's efforts to resolve crises in Libya and Mali are informed by its longstanding experience of regional diplomacy.

Libya, containing the danger

The chaos in Libya will not be stopped by lazy rhetoric or easy options. The country's neighbours, Tunisia and Algeria, can teach the west a lesson. 

France's identity crisis: seeds of change

The traumatic attacks in Paris provoked agonised public debate. But to be productive this needs to range more deeply through France's colonial history and modern society. 

Tunisia: the Arab exception's test

The probable election victory of Béji Caid Essebsi is a vital moment in the pioneer country of the Arab revolts. It also reveals the scale of Tunisia's economic challenges.

Algeria, football, and France's "black box"

The political misuse and misreading of events involving Algerians in France are an obstacle to true understanding.

North African diversities: Algeria in flux

Algeria’s circles of power and their relationship to a complex society and history are hard to grasp. Francis Ghilès describes his own route to understanding the country in the post-independence era, when the heavy legacy of the past mixed with the confident idealism of the present.

Tunisia, from hope to delivery

Tunisia has turned a political corner. But great economic problems remain which require careful management and good government, says Francis Ghilès.

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