Interior minister Manuel Valls has been a rare shining star in the socialist government. However this week, he has come under withering criticism from the opposition for the violent incidents that have marked the celebrations of the championship win of the Paris football team. So, did the government blunder or is the Right playing politics?
"Friendly tension". Since François Hollande uttered those words to describe the relationship with Germany during a TV interview in late March, it seems like a Pandora's box has been opened. After years of keeping mum about France's closest ally in Europe, a number of French Socialists have openly criticised Berlin for imposing harsh austerity measures across Europe. Some have even called for confrontation with Germany. Is this healthy debate, or are we witnessing a real crisis?
After just one year in power, the French president re-defines the word "unpopular". Only a quarter of the French population approve of him. His leadership is in question. Yet he does have several political achievements he can point to. Parliament has authorised gay marriage, François Hollande acted decisively in Mali to take the country back from jihadists and it seems he has managed to distance himself from the lies and deception of his former budget minister.
French President François Hollande has now been in office for one year, but the Elysée palace is not about to celebrate the anniversary. Hollande came to power riding a wave of discontent that has now turned against him. So what went wrong? The economy, mostly. Unemployment figures have reached an all-time high: more than 3.2 million people are out of work. That means French joblessness is at almost 12%, and it's been rising steadily for two years.
On Tuesday, after heated debates in parliament and violent scuffles in the streets, the National Assembly passed a bill legalising same-sex marriage and adoption. No surprise there, since the Socialist party holds a strong majority in parliament. But what no one expected was the emergence of a strong and novel protest movement, made up of people who rarely take to the streets. Was it just an epiphenomenon, or does it portend a new era in French politics?