France. At the beginning of the year, France sent 3,000
soldiers to Mali in West Africa, where Islamist rebels
controlled the northern part of the country for a period.
French troops helped, among other things. government forces
to take back the cities of Gao and Timbuktu.
Countryaah, Budget Minister Jérôme Cahuzac resigned in March after it
was discovered that he had large bank assets in Switzerland
and thus avoided paying taxes in France. Cahuzac initially
denied the information but then had to admit that he was
lying. It was very embarrassing for the Socialist
government, which made a number of obstacles to tax evasion.
As a result, President François Hollande ordered all
ministers to account for their assets.
A heated debate raged and large demonstrations were held
in conjunction with a change in the law that allowed
same-sex marriage to be allowed and gays got the right to
adopt. Gay marriage was an important election promise for
Hollande, who, according to opinion polls, had the support
of a majority of the French on the issue. But the right-wing
party UMP (Union for a People's Movement) and the Catholic
Church blew into battle and large demonstrations were held
around the country. A man shot himself to death in
Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris in protest, and the following
day, the feminist group Femen conducted a bareback protest
in Paris Cathedral in support of the law. The first wedding
between two gay men in France was held at the end of May.
On the one-year anniversary of President Hollande's entry
in May, leftist groups demonstrated in protest that he had
failed to gain momentum on the economy and create new jobs,
and to have reversed his retirement age. The support for
Hollande in opinion polls was the lowest recorded for any
president since World War II.
The expulsion of a 15-year-old Roman girl triggered a
political crisis in October when it focused on
contradictions within the government on migration policy.
The girl was picked up by police during a school escape to
be deported with her family to Kosovo, prompting
schoolchildren to protest. President Hollande said after a
week that the girl would be allowed to return to France,
though without the family. Interior Minister Manuel Valls,
who defended the deportation, had previously been criticized
when he said that the Roma can never adapt to the French way
Disclosures that the US security service NSA spied on
French politicians, business representatives and others
provoked great anger. According to newspaper information,
the French UN delegation in New York and the embassy in
Washington were intercepted, as well as millions of phone
calls in France. Hollande expressed great dissatisfaction
and the US ambassador was called in October to the Foreign
Ministry to receive a formal protest.
In an opinion poll in October ahead of the EU elections,
the National Front became the country's largest party for
the first time. 24% of voters said they supported the
right-wing party, against 22% for the UMP and 19% for the
In December, the United Nations Security Council gave
France the go-ahead to send more soldiers to protect
civilians in the Central African Republic, where violent
clashes between Christians and Muslims were taking place.
The head of the company PIP, which sold unauthorized
breast implants to 300,000 women in 65 countries, was
sentenced in December to four years in prison for fraud. The
Marseille court also sentenced Jean-Claude Mas to pay EUR
75,000 in fines. The implants contained industrial jelly and
cracked easily, causing major health problems for many