France. According to
COUNTRYAAH, the country was hit hard by Islamist terrorism
during the year. On January 7, two brothers shot a total of
twelve people, the majority of journalists, in an attack on
the satire newspaper Charlie Hebdo's Paris office. In
related assaults, a third perpetrator murdered a police
officer and four people in a Jewish grocery store. All three
perpetrators were shot dead by police. The shock was great
and “je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) became a widely used
expression of sympathy for those affected and in support of
freedom of expression and open society.
The worldwide TV5 Monde station was hit in April by a
multi-hour cyber attack when the Islamic State (IS)
terrorist organization took control of the digital
broadcasts. In the same month, President François Hollande
announced increased defense efforts of close to EUR 4
billion in response to the extremist threat.
In August, a man was disarmed on a high-speed train en
route from Amsterdam to Paris. The man who, among other
things, had an automatic weapon was overpowered by fellow
France, which had previously participated in the US-led
bombing of IS in Iraq, expanded its attacks in September to
On November 13, Paris was hit by one of the worst
terrorist acts in Europe during the postwar period. A total
of 130 people were killed in concerted attacks on a football
arena, a concert venue and several restaurants and bars. Six
perpetrators blew to death and one was shot by police, but a
couple were believed to have escaped. An emergency permit
was introduced in the country and the borders were closed.
IS took on the deed.
The following week, police hit the suburb of Saint-Denis
and killed three people. One of them was the suspected brain
behind the November act, a wanted Belgian-Moroccan man
sentenced to prison in Belgium for terrorist offenses.
All 150 people on board were killed when a German
passenger plane on its way from Barcelona to Düsseldorf
crashed in the French Alps in March, after the second pilot
locked himself in the driver's cabin and fled the plane
straight into a rock wall.
Splits within the Socialist Party helped Prime Minister
Manuel Valls twice use a rarely used special procedure to
push through legislative changes without allowing the
National Assembly to vote. This was partly due to changes in
labor law and partly to an economic reform package. Both
times, distrustful votes were demanded against the
government, which it did, however.
A feud at the highest level within the right-wing party
National Front (UN) deepened during the year. 86-year-old
party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen repeated earlier statements
that the Nazis' gas chamber was a "historic detail", despite
efforts by the daughter and successor of party leader Marine
Le Pen to curb racism and anti-Semitism in the party. As a
result, Jean-Marie Le Pen was banned from speaking in the
party's name, and in August he was excluded from the party.
In the December regional elections, the United Nations
went strong and became the largest party in the first round
with close to 28% of the vote, just ahead of the leading
bourgeois party that changed its name to the Republicans
during the year (from the Union for a People's Movement, the
UMP). The ruling Socialist Party backed down and was
supported by only 23% of voters. However, in the second
round of elections, when two candidates were pitted against
each other, the UN failed to take home the victory in any