Prof Gaffney: 'Mali intervention is France's big test'

France has increased domestic security in response to threats of retribution against its citizens, following its military intervention in Mali.

It is the first serious test of Socialist President Francois Hollande's foreign policy.

Axelle Lemaire, an MP in President Hollande's party, and Professor John Gaffney, co-director of the Aston Centre for Europe at Aston University, discussed how the intervention in Mali is being received in France.

Talking to Today presenter Sarah Montague, Ms Lemaire said "there seems to be broad support for French intervention in Mali at this stage... at least among the political parties."

"There is the feeling that the reality of the threat is so serious that an intervention is needed now," she added.

Professor Gaffney warned this is the "first serious big test" on Hollande's foreign policy and France will have to tread "very carefully diplomatically", given its position as a former colonial power.

"It's action now in Mali has to be seen as an international effort," he explained, and insisted that the French government should be and also seem to be very conscious of this.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme on Monday 14 January 2012.

BBC News