France, officially the French Republic (French: République française), is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in western Europe, as well as several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions (5 of which are situated overseas) span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) which, as of January 2017, has a total population of almost 67 million people. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Nice, Toulouse and Bordeaux.

France has long been a global centre of art, science, and philosophy. It hosts Europe's third-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, the most of any country in the world. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, and human development. France remains a great power in the world, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is also a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and La Francophonie.

French constitutional tradition prohibits the division of people along ethnic grounds. Therefore, the French political vocabulary does not contain the notion of "national minority" and even "nationality". In the French lexicon, the word "nationalité" means exclusively "citizenship", and the adjective "national, nationale" means belonging to the state - the French Republic, because the Republic proceeds from the "nation" - the people to whom the state, national sovereignty belongs, as recorded in Article 3 Constitution of the French Republic. Thus, there is no official ethnic statistics in France. According to unofficial estimates, more than 10% of France's population are ethnic minorities.

The refusal to recognise ethnic minorities led to the fact that France did not join the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional Languages. The state does not interfere in the educational sphere of ethnic minorities, including in the field of education.

Having withdrawn from the problem of national and religious education of minorities, the authorities created a vacuum that was filled with ideological currents alien to European values, including extremist ones. The French government's policy towards these "new communities" is based, on the one hand, on non-interference and on the assimilation doctrine of the integration process (for example, the absence of state schools with a national cultural component or the law on the prohibition of wearing women's hijab), and, on the other concessions to the Islamic minority (ban on Christmas trees, sale of pork or alcohol in municipalities with a compact resettlement of immigrants from Muslim countries, etc.). Denying the existence of minorities, the state has freed itself from their problems, but has created far greater problems related to the security of its citizens. As already indicated, the French constitutional tradition states that all citizens of the country will be equal until a group declares its special interests. At the same time, it suggests that the French nation state is based on the French national and cultural tradition. This means that the traditions of the title ethnos (the French) form the basis of the entire French nation. Consequently, the titular nation monopoly has its advantages. The rest have only one privilege - to become French, albeit of different ethnic or religious origin, i.e. to voluntarily assimilate. This is a status quo, which was formed in the 19th century, but the French political elite is reluctant to change this system, despite the fact that the 21st century climate demands a different approach.

For example, in 1999 France signed the European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages, but has not yet ratified it. According to the signed document, it was supposed to provide some linguistic rights to such traditional regional minorities as the Basques, Bretons, Catalans, Corsicans, Dutch, Germans and Provencals. But even in this form the Charter was not acceptable. Adoption of the bill would mean a change in the French constitution, which requires the participation of the Senate. The last time it refused to ratify the document on October 27, 2015. This is despite the fact that ethnic minorities in question are culturally and historically close to the French!

All this does not just hamper the unity of society, but it contributes to the fact that isolated groups of citizens born in France and having French passports are formed in French society, which, unlike the state, do not consider themselves French and profess anti-state Islamist views.

As a result, the level of xenophobia in the country is one of the highest in Europe, the radicals on both sides have successfully strengthened their influence, and France itself has become an Islamist "jihad country", which in recent years has escalated to a record number of terrorist attacks. Today, it can be argued with all justification that France is the leader in terms of the level of radicalism in Europe, and the national policy of the country suggests that the prospects for tolerance and social stability in this country are extremely vague.

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