Dr. Claire Demesmay

Head of Program, Franco-German Relations Program

Areas of Expertise

  • Franco-German relations
  • French domestic and European policy
  • Migration and integration policy in France and Germany
  • Citizenship and identity debates in Europe


English, French


Email: demesmay@dgap.org

Claire Demesmay has been head of the DGAP’s Franco-German Relations Program since February 2009.

She was previously research assistant at the Study Committee for Franco-German Relations (Cerfa) at the Institut français des relations internationales (Ifri) in Paris (2002-2009) and taught French and Francophone studies at the Technical University Dresden (1998-2002).

She studied political philosophy in Dijon and at Paris 4 Sorbonne. She obtained a PhD within the framework of a French-German co-tutelle on “Political Liberalism and the Future of the Nation-State” at the University of Paris 4 Sorbonne and the Center for French Studies at the Technical University of Berlin.


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Selected Publications

Macron’s Election May Be Good News for Europe
but France’s Euroscepticism has not yet been put to rest
by Claire Demesmay, Julie Hamann
Published by International Politics and Society, May 8, 2017
Macron’s Election May Be Good News for Europe
It is no secret that Emmanuel Macron expects a great deal from cooperation with Berlin. His election is good news not only for France but also for Germany and German-French cooperation. But his clear commitment does not automatically mean France will now partner with Germany to once again become the force driving the EU.
French Susceptibility to Russian Propaganda
"There are Always Two Sides to the Truth"
by Claire Demesmay
DGAPkompakt 4 (February 2016), 8 pp.
French Susceptibility to Russian Propaganda
There are many reasons why France has become a key target of Moscow’s soft power in recent years. These include the country’s diplomatic weight and influence on European politics but also its deep currents of anti-Americanism and anti-globalization. Despite the French population’s largely negative view of Russia, Moscow has always had friends in the French political elite.
Category: Political Culture, France, Europe
After Paris
What are the Political Consequences of the Attacks within Europe and beyond?
by Claire Demesmay, Sarah Hartmann, Stefan Meister, Henning Riecke, Gereon Schuch
Originally published in German (Monday, November 16, 2015).
After Paris
How will domestic and external discussions of European security change in response to the November 13 attacks on Paris? How will they shape future measures to fight ISIS in Irak and Syria? This Monday, five of the DGAP's experts came together for a discussion – and noted the grave danger of combining an analysis of the causes of the Paris attacks with the ongoing debate on how to handle Europe’s refugee crisis.
Category: Security, France
The French Identity Crisis
Debate Intensifies after the Attacks
by Claire Demesmay
DGAPkompakt 8 (July 7, 2015), 6 pp. In English
The French Identity Crisis
What makes France French, and does French national identity have a future? What can and should be the role of religion in French society? And does France need new rules for peaceful coexistence within the community? These are the fundamental questions shaping the discussion on collective identity and social cohesion, a debate reignited by the terrorist attacks on Paris in January 2015.
Category: Integration, France
Opening up the Franco-German Dialogue
How Trialogues Can Enhance European Integration
by Claire Demesmay, Hans Stark
DGAPanalyse 6 (June 2015), 53 pp.
Opening up the Franco-German Dialogue
As the EU confronts an unprecedented number of crises, it is crucial to open up the longstanding Franco-German tandem to other partners. The ten authors of this compendium explore ten such possible triangular configurations – involving, respectively, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom, the Western Balkans, Turkey, the European Commission, and the European Parliament – and point to several other potentially productive “trialogues.”
Looking toward the Future
French and German businesses set their sights on 2025
by Claire Demesmay, Barbara Kunz
DGAPanalyse 1 (January 2015), 12 pp. (in German)
Looking toward the Future
In the ongoing debate on public debt, structural reforms, and competitiveness, the governmental differences between France and Germany have been thoroughly discussed. Far less attention has been given to the expectations of businesses in the two countries, although matters relating to the economy affect them with particular urgency. What problems, opportunities, and risks do they see for their own countries and for Europe in the next ten years? (English text available on the Robert Schuman Foundation website.)
Category: Economy and Finance, Europe
Workshop for Consensus, French edition
Franco-German communication and decision making processes in European policy
by Claire Demesmay, Martin Koopmann, Julien Thorel
Foreword: Travaux et documents du CIRAC, February 2014 (In French)
Workshop for Consensus, French edition
How does Franco-German cooperation in European policy really work on the ground? The two countries have substantially influenced European integration for decades now, but have the plethora of bilateral institutions and mechanisms for making decisions actually improved the processes of reaching agreement? What are the prime movers? Where are the limits to making collective choices? Editors Claire Demesmay, Martin Koopman, and Julien Thorel present ten case studies in central areas of European action. (In French).
Category: Bilateral Relations, Europe, France, Germany
Franco-German Relations: Sunny Skies, and Not a Moment too Soon
Berlin and Paris want to cooperate more closely. For the EU to move forward, major efforts are needed
by Claire Demesmay
ParisBerlin 96, March 2014, 11 pages (Article in French)
Franco-German Relations: Sunny Skies, and Not a Moment too Soon
Cooperation between France and Germany has not been at its smoothest for some time now already. If the partners are to develop new momentum for the European project, however, they must get down to work with new ambition. The Franco-German Council of Ministers, which recently convened both cabinets, is an appropriate forum for showing good will. As Claire Demesmay writes, the task now is to develop joint solutions – be it for defense, energy, or neighborhood policy. (In French)
Category: Bilateral Relations, France, Germany
When Pictures Make Politics
Finding new symbols for tackling the German-French past
by Claire Demesmay, Klemens Kober
DGAPkompakt 6, September 3, 2013, 6 pp.
When Pictures Make Politics
German President Gauck recently took part in a memorial ceremony in France to mark the June 1944 massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane. In doing so, he closed one of the last gaps in the process of coming to terms with the German-French past. A plethora of symbols has grown up over the years, but the work of communicating and reaching mutual understanding must continue. Shared gestures are of great importance to the countries’ largely pragmatic cooperation. The art lies in finding the right images.
Category: Bilateral Relations, France, Germany
Collective Obsession
France’s “Germany complex” and the future of the Paris-Berlin tandem
by Claire Demesmay
Collective Obsession
The eyes of the French have rarely been so fixed on Germany as they are today. Since Nicolas Sarkozy lavished praise on the “modèle allemand” during his ultimately failed election campaign of 2012, Germany has been at the center of all public debates. However, the current tone is anything but positive. How serious is the French-German relationship crisis?
Category: European Union, Bilateral Relations, German Foreign Policy, France, Germany
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