Jacques Chirac

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 US president Bill Clinton (left) with British prime minister Tony Blair  at a 1997 summit in Denver, Colorado. Photograph: Doug Collier/AFP via Getty Images

In a time of perpetual crisis, the feeling of longing for an idealised past in which nothing much happened can exert a powerful pull. The tempting cou(...)

A man holds a placard reading “Retirement at the age of 55, for workers in the building sector and for the others” as he takes part in a demonstration in Lyon on Tuesday to protest against French government’s plan to overhaul the country’s retirement system, as part of a national general strike. Photograph: Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP via Getty Images

When confronted with domestic stalemate and strife, French presidents have tended to take refuge in foreign affairs. It is certainly open to Emmanuel (...)

Protesters hold up flares as French union members demonstrate against proposed pension reforms in Marseille on Thursday. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

French public sector workers began a nationwide strike on Thursday over Emmanuel Macron’s plans to reform France’s generous pension system, in the big(...)

Outgoing European Council president Donald Tusk: A good film, he joked, is one “that starts with an earthquake and builds up to a climax”. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Tusk channelled Alfred Hitchcock in his farewell to hundreds of European Council staff and journalists in the vast atrium of the Justus Lipsius(...)

The more UK prime minister Boris Johnson promises a quick trade deal with the US, the higher will be the barriers with the EU. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Bafflement and boredom are the two most common responses to Brexit. Just wait until the trade negotiations start. Brussels and London are gearing up f(...)

Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur (90) and François Léotard (77), who was Balladur’s defence minister. File photographs: Jean-Pierre Muller and Marc Le Chelard/AFP/Getty Images

The so-called Karachi trial, which opens on Monday in Paris and is to continue until the end of the month, is a murky tale of arms sales and kickbacks(...)

Relatives attend the private burial  of former French president Jacques Chirac at Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris on Tuesday. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of French people demonstrated their affection for Jacques Chirac, the former president who died on September 26th at the age of 86, by queui(...)

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(...)

US president Donald Trump and French president Emmanuel Macron   shake hands during the press conference in  Normandy, June 6th. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

All eyes were on the chemistry between presidents Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump when the French and American leaders met for commemorations of the (...)

French president Emmanuel Macron addresses a meeting of some 600 mayors in Grand-Bourgtheroulde, Normandy. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Emmanuel Macron was once a young man in a hurry. At the opening session of a two-month “great national debate” on Tuesday, the mayors of 600 towns and(...)

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