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After AusterityWelfare State Transformation in Europe after the Great Recession$
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Peter Taylor-Gooby, Benjamin Leruth, and Heejung Chung

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790266

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198790266.001.0001

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France at a Crossroads

France at a Crossroads

Societal Challenges to the Welfare State during Nicolas Sarkozy’s and François Hollande’s Presidential Terms

Chapter:
(p.67) 4 France at a Crossroads
Source:
After Austerity
Author(s):

Benjamin Leruth

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198790266.003.0004

France has established itself as one of the most ‘generous’ welfare states in the world. The Great Recession of 2007–8 confronted French social policy with escalating unemployment and deepening inequalities. Combined with major pension reforms, these led to strong levels of dissatisfaction across the country, exacerbated by tensions over immigration, Euroscepticism, and internal security problems. This chapter examines how these issues developed in political context and uses material from attitude surveys to analyse existing and future challenges for the welfare state in France. It assesses recent reforms: governments of right and left offered contrasting programmes but failed to win public trust. France now stands at a cross-roads, facing a strong presidential challenge from the anti-immigrant, anti-EU right.

Keywords:   France, welfare reform, retrenchment, socialism, neo-liberalism, dirigisme, austerity, immigration, pensions, cleavages

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