Specifically, we will publish twelve detailed introductory papers along with possible policy options on issues we consider to be vital over the next ten years. In so doing, we will lay the groundwork for well-informed choices and sketch out a clear vision for France’s future.
A NEED FOR CLARITY
The presidential election is not only about appointing a head of state for France. The debate leading up to the election is a chance to clarify the choices that will guide public policy over the coming years.
Such clarification is both more pressing and more difficult than is usually the case due to the wider context. France is currently facing threats to its security and an uncertain European environment. Even if growth were to pick up, income per capita in 2017 would still only be at 2007 levels, and unemployment would still be at a historic high. The country will continue to be a house divided: one half of the population prosperous and relatively confident, the other half struggling to make ends meet and anxious about the future. Moreover, it will face serious economic and social challenges brought about by technological change. The decisions to be made will be difficult since public funds are scarce and already in high demand.
It falls to the candidates themselves and their parties to assess the country’s predicament, select priorities, draft proposals and articulate them as part of their programmes. However, if indisputable facts, objective evaluations, forecasts and thorough analyses of the various options are put forth in a public debate, they will be able to do so with greater clarity, accuracy and forthrightness.
The media, which will have the difficult job of interpreting the candidates’ proposals, examining their coherence and exposing their limitations, will also need to draw on forward-looking studies. Finally, it is the citizens themselves who will benefit from such an in-depth analysis of the issues at stake when they go to the ballot box.
A wide array of institutions will be certain to have a say in the political decisions to be made. Indeed, the richer the contributions, the better the assessment of the facts, and the more likely the political debate will be on par with the challenges the country faces.
FRANCE STRATÉGIE’S CONTRIBUTION
France Stratégie is tasked with not only “fostering dialogue and shared analysis and scenarios” but also encouraging “the broad participation of the entire spectrum of French society in a collective debate on the country’s future”. “Forward-looking studies that guide public authorities on possible medium- and long-term paths for France” form the basis for this.
Nevertheless, its role is not to put forth an all-encompassing project in the run-up to an election. Rather, it is to provide an objective analysis of the situation and set out the future challenges in each particular area in a non-partisan manner, shedding light on the prospective issues. It must also sketch out the main decisions and trade-offs the nation will have to make in the years to come. It is not a question of telling the French people what they must do, let alone predicting what the country will be in the coming decade. The approach does not seek to be prescriptive, but it is exhaustive. In short, the idea is to draw on the detailed studies on the issues to set the stage for vibrant and informed debate.
To do this, France Stratégie will abide by the principles that govern the project’s approach:
- A decade-long perspective. Opting for a ten-year period is not only ambitious, it means the project will not be confined to the next five-year presidential term. It also serves as a reminder that the decisions made during a major electoral process represent long-term commitments and that political leaders can be judged on their ability to prepare the country for the future.
- An analytical approach. This allows France Stratégie to provide a substantiated diagnosis and look at possible policy options on each issue through the prism of its wide-ranging expertise.
- A transparent process. France Stratégie will make its data available and will set up forums for debate to enable citizens to form their own opinions on the issues.
- A method fostering dialogue and discussion. Stakeholders from all walks of life and with a wide range of viewpoints will be involved in the project.
- To see the 17/27 project through, France Stratégie has created a website: francestrategie1727.fr.
France Stratégie’s analysts have been publishing brief introductory documents on a bi-weekly basis since March 2016. The papers aim to set out the challenges to be met over the next decade while detailing the issues that require a policy response. They will be complemented by online appendices that include such information as data and data visualization.
- Once the papers are posted online, there will be a call for contributions. Debates on the issues will then be organised based on the papers, and the written contributions will be published on the 17/27 website.
- Finally, an overview will be published on each issue every two weeks starting in May 2016. This will serve to flesh out the introductory papers and detail public policy options.
World growth from one decade to the next
New forms of work and social protection
A road map for Europe
Capitalising on the digital revolutio
Investing in youngsters while dealing with an ageing population
The economic model and income distribution
Debt, deficits and expenditure: Prospects for public finances
Employment and labour market policie
Regional dynamics and inequalities
Climate change goals and strategy
The candidates in France’s May 2017 presidential election will not necessarily give social, economic and environmental issues equal consideration. Nevertheless, governments across the globe will be grappling with them in the years to come – and they are certain to influence the decisions citizens make. They must therefore be set forth in a methodical, objective and non-partisan manner.
France Stratégie invites all citizens who wish to contribute to the public debate with facts and analysis to participate in the exchanges to be held on these issues in the coming months.