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About Patrice de Beer

Patrice de Beer is former London and Washington correspondent for Le Monde

Articles by Patrice de Beer

This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Brexit and France: a divorce by mutual consent?

Every country, just like any individual, has to live with its own mess and pay the price for it.

Catalonia revisited: farewell to great expectations?

On the eve of 2017, author of ‘Catalonia vs. Spain - a clash of two nationalisms’ has second thoughts about what’s possible.

Death, Rocard and the demise of European social democracy

The Big Tent model has given way to a fight to the finish between ideologues and pragmatists, both further and further away from the “People” they are supposed to represent. 

A French elegy for the UK

Referenda are a populist gimmick drafted to unite as many people as possible on a single issue. They work when leaders are popular and voters vote for the messenger.

Front National: victorious defeat

After Sunday's regional elections, will the French be able to stop FN from finally breaking through the fragile glass ceiling? And what about the renewed political world that voters want?

The Paris attacks

No European country, even Britain, can defend herself any more on her own and each one is now a potential target for ISIS.


It seems normal to grant priority to victims of wars which are destroying Iraq and Syria, because we all share a large part of the responsibilities in the present conflicts.

The Paris demo: I was there

Some say they have understood this call: only the future will tell. But the future is now. 

When words have meaning and history goes both ways

The massive police hunt for French Islamic terrorists responsible for the attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, January 7, has come to a bloody end this Friday afternoon.

Catalonia has voted: now what?

Rajoy's iron-fisted approach to the Catalan question has only made the independence movement stronger. Now he must negotiate or risk losing Catalonia for good.

A gloomy, rudderless France

It seems a hopeless task, as we see President François Hollande slide lower and lower in this slippery slope of unpopularity, now around 13% in opinion polls. But he is not alone.

Catalonia vs Spain, a clash of two nationalisms

By targeting the Mas government, widely portrayed as extremist and irresponsible, and by refusing to negotiate on key constitutional, economic, social, cultural issues, Mr. Rajoy has – willingly or not – been playing into the hands of radicals.

France and the European elections

Just as shocking as if Nick Griffin's daughter had cornered 27% of British votes, it is clear why Nigel Farage does not want to be associated with – and tainted by – his French counterpart. But is it a surprise that “Enough” is at the core of the FN platform?

French local elections on suburban housing estates

It is, in a sense, a good sign for racial integration to see that the “new French” are voting just like the old ones.

A French style “Tea Party”?

Every conceivable attempt to mobilise all the extremes has been used to beef up recent French demos. With some success.

How European? France, ahead of the European elections

European elections have never really been about Europe. Case in point: France, where the electoral campaign reeks of popular resentment, personal ambitions and widespread misconceptions. Euro elections landscape, 2014.

On western military interventionism

Things are not as clear cut as one would like to believe: like war and peace, black and white, good or evil. As in real life, there are few obvious moral, or immoral solutions. Take Mali.

Bonjour Tristesse

French parliamentarians – left or right, including the Socialist Speaker of the House – stick tooth and nail to their perks. The opposition is crying out against what they call being taken back to the times of Robespierre's “Terror” under the French Revolution.

Stephane Hessel: the ultimate European

How could someone be more European than Hessel by origin, shared culture and values - his cross-border, supranational vision making us ashamed of our weaknesses, our lack of vision and courage?

Ah la Françafrique!

The present crisis raises a number of crucial questions, for France, Mali, the EU and our globalised world.

Elections in Catalonia: it takes two to tango

On Sunday November 25, the Catalan elections illustrated the fact that, in politics, nothing is ever sure. But also, and more importantly, that nothing is ever as simple as politicians would like it to be.

The French right's lose-lose election

Former president Sarkozy's UMP party is torn apart by the trial of strength between former PM Fillon and Party chair Copé. Both have claimed victory in last week's extremely tight election, pointing to several cases of fraud. Many fear this might result in an implosion of the party and a reconfiguration of the French right.

Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia: changing but unsinkable

It is too easy for armchair analysts, in the cosyness of their far away study, to deliver a death sentence to the historical reputation of a man who did what he thought was the only, the final thing to be done.

“Idiots trying to trap other idiots”

The choice is difficult: none of the alternatives easy to accept. But is it not the case that those who riot in the Arab world or in our own capitals represent only a minute fraction of the billion plus Muslims in the world? Even if many were indeed shocked by this mockery.

Homage to Catalonia (revisited)

As Catalans massively take to the streets of Barcelona to demand independence, we are reminded that the Catalonian question is far from settled. And the current economic crisis exacerbates old, underlying tensions.

The Olympics madness

Nationalism, chauvinism and greed have overtaken the Olympic games to an absurd degree, says Patrice de Beer.

François Hollande and France: the big test

The new French president has consolidated his authority with a decisive win in the legislative elections. But the challenges he faces now get much steeper

The loneliness of the long distance politician

Sarko’s lack of fluency in English will probably stop him from joining the even better-paid world circuit of guest speakers, unlike Bill Clinton or Tony Blair.

France, a political tightrope

The aftermath of the presidential election is also the prelude to a parliamentary vote whose outcome is crucial to Francois Hollande's leadership, says Patrice de Beer.

François Hollande and France: the big deal

A new socialist president brings the promise of change to France and Europe, says Patrice de Beer.

France: towards a new right

The first round of France’s presidential election leaves the incumbent president, Nicolas Sarkozy, in a tight corner. Its result also presages a longer struggle over the future shape of the country's political right, says Patrice de Beer.

France: a politics out of time

The tragedy in Toulouse has changed the atmosphere of France's presidential-election campaign. The emergence of a left-wing candidate makes the first-round outcome even harder to predict. But beneath the drama, the country's politics remain far behind a changing society, says Patrice de Beer.

France's election: looking for light

France's disillusion extends beyond the country's president to its political class, economy and sense of social direction. The beneficiaries may include the far-right Marine Le Pen as well as the centre-left François Hollande, says Patrice de Beer.

2011, the two winners

The hopes of liberation from dictatorship and penury shine less brightly at the end of this year of movement, says Patrice de Beer.

Nicolas Sarkozy: on the precipice

An insipid economy, a tornado of scandal, anaemic support, an alienated core, internecine war on the right, a show of opposition unity - France’s president faces a perfect storm all of his making. But are these really Sarkozy’s last days, asks Patrice de Beer.
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