France Country Profile
Prepared by: Twin Falls High School Delegation for Idaho Model U.N. – 2023
The French are governed by three main branches of government. The three main branches are an executive branch, a legislative branch, and a judicial branch. The executive branch is semi-presidential, this means that France is led by a President and a Prime Minister. France is a republic so the President is elected directly by the people. The Prime Minister is then appointed by the President. While France is the largest country in Western Europe, it is still able to have a unitary system. Since France is a unitary system it means that all of the governing power is in one central government. This is different from places that have a Federalist system where the power is shared between the central, federal government and state governments. France is a secular state so they stay neutral with religion much like the US. The current President of France
is Emmanuel Macron. He has launched a series of economic reforms meant to improve
competitiveness and boost economic growth. He also campaigned on refining the labor code by making it easier to hire but also to fire people. This has met some opposition but is meant to lower France’s unemployment rate. Macron also wants to reduce corporate tax from 33.3% to 25% in order to boost the economy. The main parties in France are the La République En March which is a center-right party. Another main socialist is a socialist party. Their president Emmanuel Macron is part of the La République En March party. Presidents in France are ranked by day’s served in office. France is one of the countries that has a large political profile by having both a national assembly and a senate.
France has a capitalist economy, it is one of the largest economies in the world. France is ranked seventh in GDP behind the United States, Japan, Germany, Italy the United Kingdom ext. France contributes to about 3.3% of the world’s GDP combined. GDP is the gross domestic product so all final goods and services a country produces in a given year combined. It’s mostly privatized, which means a piece of property or businesses go from being owned by the government to being owned privately, but the government holds a presence in many key industries like “power, public transport, and defense industries” (Economy of France). Its most significant trading partners are Germany, the United States, Italy, Belgium, and Spain. One of France’s major industries is the
service industry (78.8% of their GDP), specifically tourism (Economy of France). It’s the most visited country in the world, boasting 89 million foreign tourists in 2017. France’s main exports are aircraft such as airplanes and helicopters, pharmaceuticals, drugs, vaccines, cars, and motorcycles (List of exports of France). Their top imports are motor vehicles, trailers, and semi-trucks. France has a business-friendly economy and technology companies play a big role in how many investments they get. In August 2022 the annual inflation rate was 5.9%, which means from August 2021 to August 2022 there was 5.9% inflation (Economy of France). A major problem with France’s economy is the number of homeless people which is about 200,000-300,000. The problem with homelessness isn’t just due to the economy but it probably plays at
least a small role. France gets most of its energy from nuclear power and nuclear power creates about 200,000 jobs directly and indirectly. In 2020 France’s GDP was 2.603 trillion USD. That makes France one of the countries with the highest GDPs. France’s consumption per person privately added up to around 53% of their nominal GDP. Though demonstrated by the homeless problem not everyone benefits from the wealth. France offers free college tuition to all of the kids in the European Union. France is famous for its generous social safety net which means France intends to protect families and individuals from shocks economically, natural disasters, and more. While France does have a capitalist economy, it does take an active role in the economy.
Role in United Nations
France was one of the very first members of the United Nations since its founding in 1945. Just like the United States and many of its leading members, it holds a permanent seat on the Security Council and the Conferencement of Disarmament and supports its ability to veto drafts and decisions. Despite having the power to veto, they have not done so since 1989. France is the sixth largest contributor to the United Nations’ budgets. It plays a significant role in the area of security and disarmament, deploying several thousand French soldiers in a national capacity and providing daily support, and constantly seeks to promote an efficient role for the UN based on International laws and censuses. France also remains very involved in promoting the UN’s reform. They support the expansion of the Security Council and increased efforts in the climate control movement. They support the 2030 Agenda, which establishes 17 Sustainable Development goals in order to reduce extreme poverty and preserve the planet. France is also taking initiatives to end the recruitment of child soldiers and the death penalty, both of which they are severely against. Overall France is continuing to fight for human rights and Earth preservation worldwide, using its spot in the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Current Role in Climate Change Mitigation
France has continually committed to cutting carbon emissions and climate pollutants in order to curb the growth of climate change. They joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) in 2012 and became a member of their global clean air initiative called the BreatheLife Campaign, which works to combat the health and climate effects of air pollution. In 2019, President Emmanuel Macron doubled the country’s contribution to the Green Climate Fund, providing 5 billion euros to developing countries for climate finance through the French Development Agency, and has made similar amounts each year. In order to reach their goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 made in the 2015 Paris Agreement, France passed the Law on Energy and Climate which calls for the end of coal plant operations in 2022. They also set up the One Planet initiative with the United Nations in 2017 to preserve nature and combat climate change. While France is a major resource in mitigating climate change worldwide, the country still contributes to climate change and sees the effects locally. During the summer of 2022, France experienced forest fires and drought, which led to reduced food supply and water restrictions. The average temperature has risen by 1.9 degrees Celsius since 1900, which exceeds the global temperature rise. Major city centers such as Paris contribute largely to air pollution in the country caused by carbon emissions and particulate matter. Global rises in sea levels have caused changes in land erosion and the positioning of water tables, stressing coastal ecosystems and contaminating freshwater aquifers. The country has taken action to reduce these contributions
and consequent effects in recent years, becoming the fifth-ranked country in terms of sustainable development.
France owns a national security force, which their main goal and purpose is to deal with “all the risks and threats which could endanger the life of the Nation”. Their first priority is to defend the French people, land, and territory, which is followed by their commitment to helping contribute to European support and international security as a member of the United Nations Security Council. Their third and final goal is to “defend the republican values that bind together the French people and their State: the principles of democracy, including individual and collective freedoms, the respect for human dignity, solidarity, and justice.” France’s national strategic culture is highly developed and a member of one of the EU member states. The French Armed Forces are composed of multiple divisions including the army, navy, air and space force, and national guard, with about 205,000 troops actively on duty for the entire armed forces. France has territorial disputes with Madagascar, Comoros, and Mauritius over islands in the Indian Ocean, Suriname and the French overseas department of New Guiana, and Vanuatu with islands in the Oceania region. France’s national security has been strongly
influenced by almost all past military and war experiences, ranging from their victory in the second world war, the cold war, the development of their nuclear program, and their union to the historical development of the global mission. They were extremely influenced by the atmosphere experienced during the cold war which pushed the French Presidency to push their Livre Blanc de la Défense Nationale defense strategy in 1972. This was seen as the nation’s national nuclear deterrence strategy. Ironically, after the drafting of this official document, French authorities found it necessary to draft a national doctrine for their very own use of nuclear weapons for their country, which was the core of their 1972 White Paper.