France is Germany’s most important partner among European countries. Intensive collaborative relationships are maintained in various areas and at different levels, be it between the ministries, between research and science organizations or in specific project cooperation.
Population / geography
|Country name||République FrançaiseFrench Republic
|Land area||543,965 km²(excluding overseas departments)|
|Population||66.99 million residents(Estimate 1.1.2019)|
|Life expectancy||Women: 85.3 yearsMen: 79.4 years
|Age structure||0-19 years: 23.83%20-59 years: 49.78%
60-64 years: 6.13%
65 years and older: 20.26%
|Growth of population||0.4%(2018 estimate)|
|Languages||French (official language)Many regional languages and dialects including Basque, Breton, Alsatian, Catalan, Corsican, Norman, Provencal|
|Religions||51.1 percent Roman Catholic Christians5.6 percent Muslim
3-4 percent Protestants, Orthodox and Oriental Christians, Buddhists, Jews (estimates; no official data available)
39.6 percent without religion
|National day||July 14th (“Fête nationale”)Anniversary of the storm on the Bastille in 1789|
|Time zone||CET (UTC + 1);March to October: CET + 1 (UTC +2)|
|Currency||1 euro EUR / 100 centsExchange rates to other currencies at OANDA.com – Currency converter (see links below)|
Politics / Administration
|Form of government||Republic / Parliamentary Presidential Democracy|
|Head of state||President Emmanuel Macronsince May 14, 2017|
|Head of government||Edouard Philippeprime minister
since May 15, 2017
|Foreign Minister||Jean-Yves Le Drian(Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development)
since May 17, 2017
|Education and Research Minister||Jean-Michel Blanquer(Minister of Education)
since May 17, 2017
(Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation)
since May 17, 2017
|Houses of Parliament||Bicameral parliamentAssemblée Nationale / National Assembly (577 members, elected for 5 years)
Senate / Senate (348 senators, elected for 6 years)
|Ruling parties||La République en Marche (LREM) / Party: The Republic on the move (312 seats in the National Assembly);Mouvement démocrate (MoDem) / Democratic Movement (47 seats)|
|Opposition parties||Les républicains (LR) / The Republicans (98 seats);Les Constructifs: républicains, UDI et indépendants (LCRUDII) / The Constructives: Republicans, UDI and Independents (35 seats);
Nouvelle Gauche (NG) / New Left (31 seats);
La France insoumise (FI) / Insurgent France (17 seats);
Gauche démocrate et républicaine (GDR) / Left Democrats and Republicans (16 ed.);
Non-attached (17 seats).
|Administrative structure||Four administrative levels:
The President of the Republic
The political system of the Fifth Republic is shaped by the central role of the President of the Republic. It enjoys a special position within the democracies of Europe.
As a result of its direct election by the people, it is directly legitimized in a similar way to the National Assembly. In 2002, a constitutional amendment shortened his term of office from seven to five years. It thus corresponds to the length of the mandate of the National Assembly.
The president is the head of state and the guardian of the constitution. He is also the chief executive officer. The President presides over the Council of Ministers and represents France, possibly together with the Prime Minister, at international level (e.g. at the European Council). Foreign and security policy is traditionally its primary responsibility (” domaine réservé “). The prominent position of the president obliges him on the one hand to be non-partisan (representative of all French), but at the same time he is also a representative of a political direction.
Political parties and current domestic political situation
The country’s political parties traditionally belong to the camp of the “left” or the (bourgeois) “right”. The exception is the young party “ La République en marche ” of President Emmanuel Macron, which does not clearly belong to any camp, first stood in the parliamentary elections for the National Assembly in June 2017 and immediately achieved an absolute majority. In addition to La République en marche, the center party Mouvement démocrate belongs to the current parliamentary majority. The Conservative Républicains(ex-UMP) significantly lost seats in the 2017 parliamentary elections, but remain the largest opposition party in the National Assembly. In the local elections in March 2014, on the other hand, they won the majority of French cities and towns and have also had a majority in the Senate since the partial elections in September 2014 and September 2017.
The liberal camp is traditionally organized in numerous small parties. The parties that have been united in the “ Union des démocrates et indépendants ” since 2012 have 18 members. It mostly acts on the side of the Républicains, but has decided, with parts of the Républicains faction, to work with the government majority. The parliamentary opposition includes the Socialist Party of France, the left-wing alliance “ France insoumise ”, the Parti Communiste (Communists), the right-wing populist Front National and several smaller parties that are predominantly part of the left-wing political spectrum.