France, this is what I wish for you!
The transformationof the energy system, growing radicalisation, Europe in crisis – these are just a few of the challenges facing the future French president.
What hopes are people pinning on the new government? What do they want for France after the election? We interviewed various players from civil society, committed citizens and experts in both Germany and France.
This is what the French want for their country
AND THE GERMAN PERSPECTIVE?A strong role in Europe, an end to the state of emergency, more self-assurance for the country – these are some of the things experts, authors and committed citizens in Germany want for France.
Ulrich Wickert, author and long-serving correspondent of Germany’s ARD TV channel in Paris. In September 2017, his new book “Frankreich muss man lieben, um es zu verstehen” (You have to love France to understand it) will come out.
“France needs a president who will look to the future. One who will modernise labour laws, one who will reduce debt and one who, together with Germany, will move Europe forward. And there is only one candidate who embodies all this. The youngest is the most modern. Let’s hope it works out.”
Dr. Anne-Lise Barrière, historian and for three years she has been a teacher at a German-French school.
“I hope that with this election a new, non-partisan consensus for education can be found. Our education system urgently needs more social justice; the schools in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods and vocational training in particular need more funding. And more importance has to be placed on Europe – be it in history lessons or in foreign language teaching – so that the younger generation can extend its horizon beyond national borders.”
Thomas Ostermeier, artistic director of the Schaubühne Berlin. Since 2010 he has been President of the German-French Cultural Council.
“I hope the French election will produce a prudent decision and I hope the run-off election does not turn into a choice between Skylla and Charybdis."
Prof. Dr. Beate Rudolf, Director of the German Institute for Human Rights and Chair of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions.
“I hope France will elect a head of state who has the courage to lift the state of emergency that has been in force for the last 17 months. It endangers the freedoms embraced by human rights, threatens social cohesion and the rule of law in France.”
Gila Lustiger, author. In 2016, her essay “Erschütterungen” (Shock) on the terrorist attacks in Paris was published.
“Liberté, égalité, fraternité – Get back to basics! “
Dr. Jens Althoff, office manager of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Paris.
“Many French people get involved every day in both big and small ways in all kinds of issues – some social or ecological, others advocating human rights and democracy, but they are bitterly disappointed by the stale mechanisms of Parisian politics. They would like to see a government set-up in the Élysée Palace and Parliament which strengthens people’s confidence in the great French democracy, its civil rights, its ability to promote development, especially in social matters, and its important role in a common Europe."
Marguerite Seidel, German and French, teacher of German as a second language and film journalist in Hamburg.
“For me, a Europe worth living in is a Europe in which the countries and cultures engage in open exchange and develop together. For this we need common languages. I hope France will focus more on the value of foreign language teaching at school, for example, German, so that people can experience the Franco-German friendship as Europe’s “driving force" on a personal basis.”
Martin Villinger, father of a Franco-German family and director of the French Library at the German-French Institute of Ludwigsburg.
“We hope France will ensure that many of its children learn foreign languages and help them to gain experience abroad so that France will remain a cosmopolitan and joyfully multicultural country.”
Dr. Sylke Tempel, editor-in-chief of the magazine “Internationale Politik”.
“A president who can give the country a form of self-confidence that is based on openness, not on prickly defence. A booming, globally successful economy. A society that understands that clever people don’t always come from well-known elite schools.”
Dr. Tadzio Müller, Climate Change and Energy Democrat at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.
“France needs a social and ecological transformation which at the same time would create more social justice and more ecological sustainability. For example, out with nuclear power, in with people power. This is the future, and neither the former banker Macron nor Le Pen will manage this. His rhetoric may seem a bit old-fashioned, but Mélenchon is the only one who has really recognised the signs of the times."
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Guérot, Founder and Director of the European Democracy Lab at the European School of Governance in Berlin. In 2013, she was a member of the delegation that accompanied former German Federal President, Joachim Gauck, on his official state visit to France.
"For the second time since 2002, in May 2017 it will be a case of a “front républicain” preventing a populist candidate from getting into the Élysée Palace. But that can only be the first step. France needs a drastic modernisation of both a political and economic nature, and this can only be embedded in a European framework. Above all, democracy in Europe and the governance of the Eurozone must be improved and a pro-European France is indispensable for this."
Markus Beckedahl, activist for net politics and chief editor of the blog Netzpolitik.org.
“I would be delighted if the ideals of an old and formerly inspiring democracy were once again upheld in France. This includes a life without mass surveillance and, above all, an end to the ongoing state of emergency which overrides basic civil rights.”