Founded in 2000, Institut Montaigne is a nonprofit, transpartisan think tank based in Paris, France. Institut Montaigne's mission is to propose practical public policy recommendations to improve social cohesion, competitiveness and public spending in a variety of policy fields. Its work is based on international benchmarks and collaborations between experts from the French business community, academia, civil society and government.
Institut Montaigne focuses on four main policy fields:
Social cohesion: education, higher education, employment, lifelong learning
Public policy: pension, justice, healthcare, environment, European issues
Competitiveness: firms, energy, transports, SMB, digital economy, financial markets regulation
Public finances: taxation, local finances, public spending, local authorities.
Institut Montaigne is also involved in promoting innovative democratic platforms. In 2011, the think tank led an ambitious research program under the supervision of Gilles Kepel on the suburban cities of Clichy-sous-Bois and Montfermeil where the 2005 riots sparked. The findings were published in the book "Banlieue de la République". This work was later completed by "Passion française", a political essay based on a series of interviews conducted in the cities of Roubaix and Marseille to meet candidates of foreign origin who ran for the 2012 legislative elections.
Institut Montaigne feeds the public debate by providing accurate data and assessment tools. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Institut Montaigne forecasted the budgetary impact of the main candidates' programs. A similar initiative was undertaken during the 2014 municipal campaign in France's 10 largest cities, as well as for the 2015 regional campaign. During the 2017 presidential campaign, on top of quantitative analyses, it evaluated over 120 electoral program promises and proposals.
Institut Montaigne also developed the first serious game dedicated to public finances, allowing players to understand how budgetary and macroeconomic policies impact the French public deficit and the national debt.
Institut organizes political forums to which citizens are invited to draft new policies. For instance, in 2012, Institut Montaigne held a citizen's conference on the French healthcare system. A representative panel of 25 participants was informed of the functioning of the healthcare system, its challenges and its issues. After a series of workshops, the panel released a report in which it stated its main policy proposals.
Institut Montaigne expresses concrete policy proposals to enhance both competitiveness and social cohesion. The ideas are conveyed through four types of publications:
Reports, which is the work produced by dedicated taskforces
Studies, produced by one or a group of experts
Policy briefs, which react to current policy issues
Books and collective works, which provide an in-depth analysis of a specific issue.
A New Strategy for France in a New Arab World (August 2017)
Syria: to End a Never-Ending War (June 2017)
What Role for Cars in Tomorrow's World? (June 2017)
The Europe We Need (March 2017)
The Circular Economy: Reconciling Economic Growth with the Environment (November 2016)
A French Islam Is Possible (September 2016)
Rebuilding France's National Security (September 2016)
Religious Discrimination in Access to Employment: a Reality (October 2015)
Big Data and the Internet of Things: Making France a Leader in the Digital Revolution (April 2015)
Actions during the 2012 presidential campaign
In April 2012, the Montaigne Institute was criticized for doing disguised advertising for Nicolas Sarkozy, while the advertising of political parties is prohibited. Indeed, a proposal resulting from the advertising campaign carried out from March to April by the Montaigne institute was compared to certain remarks made by the president-candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy, leading the CSA to investigate the file.
This proposal had already been formulated by the Montaigne Institute in 2006 in a study by Jacques Bichot.
Other proposals put forward during this campaign echo François Hollande's programs, such as those on priority in primary school, defended by the Montaigne Institute in its report Vaincre Failure in Primary School in 2010.
Following the intervention of the CSA, BFMTV, BFM Radio or even RMC cease broadcasting for the duration of the campaign of the spots of the Institut Montaigne in favor of Nicolas Sarkozy's proposals. The Montaigne Institute also quantified the measures proposed by the candidates for the presidential election, in partnership with the newspaper Les Échos.
The quality of this work has sometimes been disputed; for Médiapart "the ideological presuppositions, the absence of a guarantee on the impartiality of the calculations or the secret kept on the identity of the" encryptors "cast suspicion on this project".
During the campaign, La Chaîne européenne (LCP) had Laurent Bigorgne, then director of the Montaigne Institute, as editorial writer for his political program Thèmes de campagne. This program, presented by Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, received, from March to June 2012, Pascal Lamy, Nicole Notat, Thierry Breton and Jacques Attali.
Actions during the 2017 presidential campaign [edit | edit source]
The president of the institute, Laurent Bigorgne, contributes to Emmanuel Macron's campaign from April 2016.
In its analysis, carried out with the newspaper Les Échos, of the candidates' economic programs, the Montaigne Institute supports that of Emmanuel Macron and severely criticizes the left candidates Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Benoit Hamon.
The Institute subsequently exhibits a certain proximity to the government. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe goes in November 2018 to the lunch that the think tank organizes between member companies and political figures. Laurent Bigorgne was appointed in June 2018 member of the Public Action Committee 2022, installed by the Prime Minister to design the state reform project, then was invited to debate with Emmanuel Macron on March 22, 2019, with sixty-five other intellectuals, to deal with the yellow vests crisis. Gilles Babinet, the Institute's referent on the digital issue, was appointed by the government as vice-president of the National Digital Council in May 2018.
The Institut Montaigne, financial regulation, and the subject of public or private corruption
The institute details its work and firm positions in terms of financial regulation and against bribery on the French version of this entry.
The presence on the steering committee of Marwan Lahoud, a former Airbus executive cited by numerous publications as being at the center of a commission system, in the large-scale corruption scandal concerning Airbus., also raises the question of the Institut Montaigne's report on these questions.
The Advisory Board provides guidance about the major social transformations; expresses its opinion about the work of the think tank; and develops partnerships and institutional relations in France and abroad.
Nicolas Baverez, economist, lawyer, contributor on defense issues
Patrick Calvar, special advisor to Institut Montaigne, contributor on security issues
Eric Chaney, economic advisor to Institut Montaigne, contributor on economic issues
Michaël Cheylan, contributor on African issues
Ambassador Michel Duclos, special advisor to Institut Montaigne, contributor on geopolitical issues
Olivier Duhamel, president of Sciences Po, contributor on political and institutional issues
Ramon Fernandez, contributor on European issues
Benjamin Fremaux, senior fellow, contributor on energy and climate issues
Hakim El Karoui, senior fellow, contributor on French foreign policy in the MENA region and Islam in France
Marc Lazar, contributor on both French and European political and institutional issues
Bertrand Martinot, senior fellow, contributor on apprenticeship, employment, professional training issues
Professor Dominique Moïsi, special advisor to Institut Montaigne, contributor on geopolitical issues
Soli Özel, International Relations, Visiting Fellow
Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution from July 2002 to October 2017, Visiting Fellow at Institut Montaigne from April to May 2018
Jean-Paul Tran Thiet, contributor on both energy and European issues.
Laurent Bigorgne has been the managing director of Institut Montaigne since 2011. 21 permanent members of staff work there.
Budget and financial resources
Institut Montaigne is a non-profit organization, depending on the French law of 1901. The annual budget of Institut Montaigne's core is ca 4.3 million euros. More than 150 companies, of all sizes and all industries, contribute every year to its operation, each one of them representing less than 2% of the total budget. About 300 legal persons also support Institut Montaigne's procedure. Their total support represents 1% of the operating budget of Institut Montaigne.
Members (the list is current as of 18 December 2017):
^He is cited by many publications as being at the center of a system of illegal commissions. In Great Britain, the Financial Times (see https://www.ft.com/content/f7a01a60-442b-11ea-abea-0c7a29cd66fe) published on January 31, 2020, in an article entitled "Airbus ran 'massive' bribery 'schemes to win orders", a photo of him with this title: "Marwan Lahoud, who ran the organization of strategy and marketing of Airbus, SMO, a division dedicated to securing sales in emerging markets and at the heart of a catalog of offenses ". In Germany, the Handelsblatt wrote a long article on September 10, 2017 on these corruption cases, and in particular: "Although the case of Kazakhstan is serious enough, there could be worse to come as investigators turn to contracts civil aviation with China and Turkey. In the latter case, Mr. Lahoud is said to have signed $ 250 million in bribes. Airbus denies allegations, but some say Mr. Lahoud's sudden departure from the company last February now appears in a new light "