French president Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Photograph:  Yoan Valat/Pool via Reuters

“We are all embarking on the unthinkable,” says Emmanuel Macron, leaning forward at his desk in the Elysée Palace in Paris after an aide has cleaned t(...)

General Charles de Gaulle speaking in Bruneval, France, in March 1947.  File photograph: Jean-Jacques Levy/AP

The first biopic of the last great Frenchman, titled simply De Gaulle, opened in French cinemas on March 4th. It focuses on events leading up to Charl(...)

Taoiseach Charles Haughey greets Crown Prince Abdullah Ben Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia upon his arrival at Dublin Airport for a two-day state visit in June 1988. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

It is considered “highly improper” to ask a Saudi Arabian about his wives or any female members of his family, Government officials were warned as the(...)

Christine Lagarde: being the unlikely candidate has consistently been the making of her. Photograph: Saul Loeb

“No, no, no, no, no, no,” Christine Lagarde said last year when asked if she was interested in running the European Central Bank (ECB). What she meant(...)

 German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen: she is seen as a stalwart of the Berlin establishment. Photograph: Reuters/Stephane Mahe

At its core it’s possible to view the EU as an historic compromise between France and Germany. In return for resurrecting Germany politically after th(...)

European Parliament in Strasbourg:  the dominant dividing line could be between politicians who want common EU-level solutions and those who favour safeguarding national sovereignty. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Four in 10 French voters say they have no interest in May’s European elections, a recent poll reports. The apathy vote is up more than a sixth since M(...)

Flames on the roof of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on Monday. Photograph:Ian Langsdon/EPA

Notre Dame de Paris – Our Lady of Paris – has been one of the most enduring and symbolic monuments of the French capital and among the most celebrated(...)

Close up: Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Evry-Courcouronnes, France, this week. He has been one of the most vocal champions recently of greater separation between media and political power. EPA/Ludovic Marin/EPA

Last Monday, officials from the French prosecutor’s office turned up at the offices of Mediapart, an investigative news website based in Paris, and an(...)

When EU leaders, led by Germany’s Helmut Kohl and France’s François Mitterrand, set the timetable for the launch of the euro at the Maastricht Summit in 1991, they saw it as a step which would inevitably lead to closer EU political and economic integration. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

The 20th anniversary of the founding of the euro comes as the currency is established in 19 countries and is a widely accepted means of exchange inter(...)

A lunch Charles Haughey hosted for the Saudi crown prince Abdullah at Malahide Castle in November 1988 exceeded government spending limits on the basis that “entertainment by the Taoiseach must be of a very high standard”. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

The 1980s were a time of severe austerity in Ireland. A ballooning budget deficit and double-digit unemployment threatened the viability of the State (...)

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