Laura Haim on “France and Europe: Made in Macron?”

Laura Haim's seminars will be held on Mondays at 12:30pm.
Lunch will be provided.

All IOP Pritzker Fellows Seminars will be held in the IOP Living Room unless otherwise noted. 
All seminars are students only and closed to press/off the record.


The recent presidential election in France has changed the way that France and Europe are perceived in the world. The arrival of 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron put France back on the international stage, and his desire to see a new generation participating in politics will be significant for France in the years ahead. Just one year ago, Emmanuel Macron had neither a political party nor a role in the government, having resigned as Minister of Finance after a disagreement with President François Hollande.  He then launched his own movement based on fighting populism and on bringing new faces into politics. He also wanted to ensure that Europe would become an important player in the world. For months, he traveled all over France, trying to build momentum in a very divided country with his message of democracy versus populism. His agenda included the moralization of political life, the renewal of a political generation, the fight against terrorism, and he introduced important major labor reforms which became extremely popular during his campaign. How did he convince his followers? What will happen next? This seminar series will explore how, from out of nowhere, Macron became the symbol of change in France and in Europe and the impact he is having; how he structured his movement and continues to build his party; and what we can expect from the new French president.

Session 1 (October 2): A French Campaign – Democracy versus Populism | RSVP

In September of 2016, Emmanuel Macron decided to launch a movement called En Marche in order to change the way the French people looked at politics. With a very small dedicated team, all under age 30, he traveled around  the country and gave speeches about his desire to reform France and Europe in an unprecedented way. This seminar will explore the inner workings of the Macron campaign and its path to victory: how Emmanuel Macron and his team created an original political campaign and the challenges they faced; how they developed their message; how the last months of the election unfolded against a contemporary global backdrop that included the threat of cyberattacks and of terrorism; how Macron dealt with foreign leaders during the campaign; and how he built a successful strategy against rising populism in France to win against far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Session 2 (October 9): The Far Right of the Le Pen Family and the Racism Movement in Europe | RSVP

This seminar will explain the history of the far right movement in France since the Second World War, and how in the past ten years, and especially since the election of Donald Trump in the United States, the far right has become a populist movement largely aimed at attracting an anxious middle class. This seminar will also examine how rising anti-Semitism and racism in Europe have been used to galvanize support. Finally, this seminar will look at how two generations of the Le Pen family built a political machine in France and Europe and how, and why, far right parties are now a part of every European election. Can European democracies survive current global trends? Or will illiberal democracies prevail? We will also look at how presidential campaigns have changed in the face of racism and xenophobia.

Session 3* (October 16): Is Europe Failing Countries on the Frontline of the Refugee Crisis? | RSVP
*Please note, this seminar will be held from 2 – 3:15pm, following the IOP's public event with David Miliband. 

In 2013, the Prime Minister of Malta warned that the Mediterranean was becoming ‘a cemetery.’ He was speaking shortly after the second Lampedusa shipwreck, in which a migrant vessel capsized and at least 34 people drowned. Several thousand migrants die crossing the Mediterranean each year, with a record 5,000 drowning in 2016 alone. How are EU countries away from the frontlines of migration helping, or not helping, the countries most affected by the crisis? Can the EU come to consensus? Is there a political answer to the refugee crisis in Europe?

Special Guest: David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee

Session 4 (October 23): The Fear Factor in Europe. Political and Presidential Positions on the Terrorist Threat | RSVP

During the French presidential campaign, there were terrorist attacks and threats in France and England. The presidential candidates constantly had to adjust their schedules and meetings to respond to terrorism and questions from voters. These terrorist attacks have reopened old debates over how to respond to terrorism across the European Union. Some have focused on a military response to degrade the terrorists' capabilities, others on an approach centered around cultural and social integration. Others still are advocating dramatically enhancing the strength of European and national borders. During the election, the far right decided to exploit this fear factor by claiming that it was important to protect the people from “outsiders.”

This seminar will explore how candidates during the French and German presidential campaigns have addressed the sensitive issue of terror. How is Europe responding to the enhanced threat of terrorism within its borders?

Session 5 (October 30): How is the United States of Trump perceived in Europe today? | RSVP

What is the standing of the United States in the world at this particular moment? Since the election of President Trump, it would appear that America's friendship with Europe has been damaged. What is the reality? This seminar will explore how President Macron and Chancellor Merkel see the United States. It will also analyze the Brexit effect on the country and the diplomatic crisis over the Paris agreement, which has reinforced  European unity. This seminar will also address the importance of the trans-Atlantic alliance in today’s world, and prospects for the future of US-EU cooperation. 

Session 6 (November 6): Europe – Generation Macron? | RSVP

In less than two months, France has changed presidents and its entire parliament. This complete political renewal was unprecedented. How did Macron do it? What is the Macron generation all about? Can they succeed against the traditional establishment in France and in Europe? What reforms do they want and what are the obstacles to reform? The new parliament in France is gaining power through executive orders - the pressure is on. France has given this political movement, La Republique En Marche! a clear mandate in the National Assembly. Now President Macron must deliver economic reforms and jobs and quickly bring down the country’s high unemployment rate. Macron and his party will also need to start delivering on his ambitious promises with regards on Europe. Can he succeed? In June, the French press criticized President Macron for his dictatorial approach and compared him to Jupiter [or Zeus, the supreme god]. What are the risks of the so-called “Jupiter” effect?  

Session 7 (November 13): Media and Politics in Europe | RSVP

France is very different from the rest of Europe, and even more so from the United States. There are no political advertisements on television during campaigns, so the journalists’ beat is extremely important. What are the differences between France, Europe and America for journalists covering political campaigns? How did the Macron team capitalize on those differences? How did his team organize and prepare for the televised debate against Le Pen? This session will explore the role of the media in Europe in elections and different strategies used by the campaigns, and compare campaign coverage in France and the US.

Session 8 (November 20): The Place of Women and the Role of First Ladies in France and Europe | RSVP

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