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New York Times: Proud Nation Ponders How to Halt Its Slow Decline

Author: Steven Erlanger, Correspondent, New York Times
August 24, 2013

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"Today... Europe is talking about 'the French question': can the Socialist government of President FranÁois Hollande pull France out of its slow decline and prevent it from slipping permanently into Europe's second tier?"

PARIS — For decades, Europeans have agonized over the power and role of Germany — the so-called German question — given its importance to European stability and prosperity.

Today, however, Europe is talking about "the French question": can the Socialist government of President FranÁois Hollande pull France out of its slow decline and prevent it from slipping permanently into Europe's second tier?

At stake is whether a social democratic system that for decades prided itself on being the model for providing a stable and high standard of living for its citizens can survive the combination of globalization, an aging population and the acute fiscal shocks of recent years.

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