The French EU enlargement debate (manual)
Police . Photo: Alan Grant.


This manual, downloadable in pdf format, tries to provide an answer to the question of who shapes the debate on the future of EU-enlargement in France today? It features more than 150 key people in more than 80 institutions, from the French media scene, think tanks, research institutions and other relevant interest groups as well as relevant political institutions, the current government (with a focus on foreign affairs), the parliament and the leading parties.

We have included people working on Turkey already as well as those who are active in the current enlargement debate in general, as these are often individuals who could be expected to be interested in the questions raised by Turkish accession even if they are not focusing on it at this moment.

As one of the biggest EU member states France is not only an important player influencing EU policies towards countries aspiring for EU membership. France is also home to a big range of institutions and key players that – in one way or the other – have a say in the debate of future EU enlargement. The persons and institutions described in this manual certainly belong to the most important ones.

Click here to download the manual or first have a look at some extracts of the manual below.

The national dailies

Unlike in the United Kingdom or Germany, quality dailies are account for most of the newspapers with the highest circulation. In fact, except for L’équipe, focusing on sports, and Aujourd’hui en France all national dailies with a circulation above 100,000 can be considered quality papers.

Circulation of French national dailies
National dailies (circulation above 80,000)
Le Figaro


Le Monde

Aujourd’hui en France

Les Echos


La croix

La Tribune









Source: Association pour le contrôle de la diffusion des media (OJD), Book 2007 Presse Payante Grand Public, 26 February 2008.  Total distribution in France (against payment and free).

Le Monde, founded in 1944, is perhaps the most important and most influential daily in policy circles. With close to 40,000 copies sold abroad, it is also the French daily most widely read outside France.

While its editorial line is usually described as centre-left, it actually occupies the centre ground between Figaro on the right and Libération on the left.

Daniel Vernet ( leads the international relations department and frequently comments on strategic international issues. He is well connected to the Elysée and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Vernet was pro-East European enlargement and warned against a “no” vote in the French referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty in 2005.

Thomas Ferenczi (, since 2003 the paper’s Brussels correspondent, regularly writes editorials on enlargement (generally in favour).

Natalie Nougayrède (, one of Le Monde’s writers on foreign and diplomatic affairs, has a deep understanding of French foreign policy. She also sometimes covers issues in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Éric Le Boucher ( writes a weekly economic column, mostly critical of the “French economic model”. Sometimes, when writing about competitiveness or globalisation, he touches on the issue of EU enlargement.

Christophe Châtelot ( is the main person covering Balkan affairs. Guillaume Perrier ( is the main person covering Turkey for Le Monde, but also for Le Journal du Dimanche and Le Point.

Sophie Bilderling Shihab ( who in the 1990s has been reporting for Le Monde from Moscow, is currently writing for Le Monde from Istanbul (contacts: Sahkulu Mah. Timarci Sok. 3/9, Kuledibi-Beyoglu-Istanbul, phone: +90 (212) 252 32 55, fax: +90 (212) 252 32 55).

Contact in France: Le Monde, 80, boulevard Auguste-Blanqui, 75707 Paris Cedex 13; phone +33(0)1 5728 2000,

Le Figaro is the oldest national French daily, founded in 1826. Many famous writers, including Émile Zola, Marcel Proust and André Gide published in this paper. The line of the paper today is centre-right, and generally though nor always supportive of the current government.

One journalist knowledgeable about Turkey is Laure Marchand  ( who also writes for L’Expansion, La Tribune de Genève and L’Hebdo. Thierry Oberle has repeatedly written on Turkey as well.

The foreign affairs editor, Pierre Rousselin (, sometimes writes on Turkey. The papers Brussels correspondent is Pierre Avril (

There are a series of regular editorialists, including Jean Dormesson (writer, essayist, pro-Sarkozy) and Philippe Tesson (writer). Space is given to different opinions for debates.

Contact: Le Figaro, 14 boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris, phone: +33 (1) 5708 5000,

Contact in Istanbul: +90 (212) 251 19 75,

Libération is the most leftist (and smallest) of the three leading opinion-forming French dailies. It was founded as a far left paper by Jean-Paul Sartre and started to appear in 1973. After his departure, the paper moved to a more moderate centrist line in the early 1980s.

The paper has been haunted by financial crisis of which the most recent one is not yet overcome.

The journalists focusing on South Eastern Europe are Marc Semo (, Hélène Despic-Popovic ( and Laurent Rouy. Thomas Hofnung ( is in charge of the “World” section, and the paper’s Brussels correspondent is Jean Quatremer (

The “Rebonds” section reserved for external commentators includes comments and articles about Turkey. Ragip Duran ( is the Turkey correspondent for Libération.

Contact: Libération, 11, rue Béranger, 75154 Paris, phone +33 (1) 4276 1789,

Two French dailies have a strong focus on the economy: Les Echos and La Tribune. Though Les Echos has a considerably higher print run, both are relevant and important. They are read by parts f the political and the business elite. Big French companies are an important factor in the French policy environment, also with regard to foreign policy.

The editor for international affairs in Les Echos is Françoise Crouïgneau (  The paper includes a two page ideas & debate section (Idées) which is open to external views and comments. As a widely-read forum it might be an attractive opportunity to present arguments about South Eastern Europe and Turkey. One of the papers permanent editorialists, Jacques Hubert-Rodier (, focuses on international politics.

Contact: Les Echos, 16, rue du 4-Septembre, 75112 Paris, Cedex 02, phone +33 (1) 4953 6565,

At La Tribune, Daniel Vigneron ( is the editor for international economic affairs. Delphine Nerbollier ( is correspondent for Turkey. She also writes for Le Parisien.

Contact Paris: 51, rue Vivienne, 75095 Paris Cedex 02, phone: +33 (1) 4482 1616,

Contact Turkey: Babil Sok. No: 30/5 Elmadag – Sisli-Istanbul, phone: +90 (212) 230 59 60.

Key contacts in the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs

Bernhard Kouchner, a co-founder of Médecins sans frontière (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) and socialist politician, was brought in by President Sarkozy after his victory in 2007 to head the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

Kouchner started his political career as a member of the French Communist Party, but was expelled in 1966.  He co-founded MSF in 1971 and later – due to disagreements with MSF chairman Claude Malhuret – Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World).

He started to work for socialist governments in 1988 and was Minister of Health from 1992-93.  After an intermezzo at the European Parliament, he again became Minister of Health under Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in 1997.

In 1999, Kouchner was nominated as the first UN Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK), a position he held for 18 months.  From 2001 to 2002 he again was Minister of Health.

He was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Fillon Government, though during the campaign he had supported Sarkozy’s rival Ségolène Royal.  After accepting the post, he was expelled from the Socialist Party.

Contact: Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Minister Bernard Kouchner, 37, quai d’Orsay, 75351 Paris cedex 07, T +33 (1) 43 17 53 53,

Policy decisions are often taken in the cabinet, where – with regard to the Balkans – both Eric Chevallier, who is close to the Minister, and Isabelle Dumont are important persons.

The Directorate for Continental Europe deals with European countries that are not members of the EU.  Here Éduard Beslay, the Deputy Director for the Western Balkans, is the most important person.  Of relevance is also the Sub-directorate for EU External Relations of the Directorate for European Co-operation, headed by Caroline Ferrari.

Another relevant body of the ministry is the Policy Planning department, a body created in 1973 to conduct independent inter-disciplinary analysis of the international policy environment.  This gives it a much wider brief than its equivalents in other foreign ministries.  It acts as an internal think-tank.  Its influence depends on its relations with the Minister.  It is currently headed by a Socialist, Pierre Lévy, the party of both the Minister, Bernard Kouchner, and the Minister of State for European Affairs, Jean-Pierre Jouyet.  The Balkans is covered by Xavier Rey, a younger diplomat.  He is an obvious contact for engagement.  Here a list with relevant contacts.

Key persons in the cabinet:

Philippe Etienne

Cabinet chief

Phone: +33(1) 43 17 81 63

Isabelle Dumont, Foreign Minister’s Secretary

Adviser for continental Europe, Balkans, CEI, OSCE and Council of Europe

Phone: +33 (1) 43 17 43 23

Eric Chevallier

Special Adviser to Minister Kouchner (worked with him when Kouchner was SRSG in Kosovo)

+33 (1) 43 17 67 39

Jean-Louis Falconi

EU adviser to Minister Kouchner

Phone: +33 (1) 43 17 40 49

Pascale Andréani

Spokesperson (worked earlier on EU policy)

Directorate for European Co-operation:

Pierre Menat

European Cooperation Director

Phone +33 (1) 43 17 43 55

Caroline Ferrari

Deputy Director for EU External Relations

Christophe Lemoine

Sub-directorate for EU External Relations (Western Balkan)

Phone: +33 (1) 4317 5722,

Directorate for Continental Europe:

Jacques Faure

Continental Europe Director

Édouard Beslay

Deputy Director for Western Balkans

Phone: +33 (1) 43 17 45 36

Policy Planning Department:

Pierre Lévi

Head of Policy Planning Department

Xavier Rey

Dealing with Western Balkans

Phone: +33 (1) 43 17 47 78

ESI Manual: The French EU enlargement debate. Information and contacts (November 2008)

23 February 2009