France’s Meltdown, Macron’s Disdain

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from The Duran:

The “yellow jackets” [protestors] now have the support of 77% of the French population. They are demanding Macron’s resignation and an immediate change of government.

On November 11th, French President Emmanuel Macron commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I by inviting seventy heads of state to organize a costly, useless, grandiloquent “Forum of Peace” that did not lead to anything. He also invited US President Donald Trump, and then chose to insult him. In a pompous speech, Macron — knowing that a few days earlier, Donald Trump had defined himself as a nationalist committed to defending America — invoked “patriotism”; then defined it, strangely, as “the exact opposite of nationalism”; then called it “treason”.

In addition, shortly before the meeting, Macron had not only spoken of the “urgency” of building a European army; he also placed the United States among the “enemies” of Europe. This was not the first time Macron placed Europe above the interests of his own country. It was, however, the first time he had placed the United States on the list of enemies of Europe.

President Trump apparently understood immediately that Macron’s attitude was a way to maintain his delusions of grandeur,as well as to try to derive a domestic political advantage. Trump also apparently understood that he could not just sit there and accept insults. In a series of tweets, Trump reminded the world that France had needed the help of the USA to regain freedom during World Wars, that NATO was still protecting a virtually defenseless Europe and that many European countries were still not paying the amount promised for their own defense. Trump added that Macron had an extremely low approval rating (26%), was facing an extremely high level of unemployment, and was probably trying to divert attention from that.

Trump was right. For months, the popularity of Macron has been in free fall: he is now the most unpopular French President in modern history at this stage of his mandate. The French population has turned away from him in droves.

Unemployment in France is not only at an alarmingly high level (9.1%); it has been been alarmingly high for years. The number of people in poverty is also high (8.8 million people, 14.2% of the population). Economic growth is effectively non-existent (0.4% in the third quarter of 2018, up from 0.2% the previous three months). The median income (20,520 euros, or $23,000, a year,) is unsustainably low. It indicates that half the French live on less than 1710 euros ($1946) a month. Five million people are surviving on less than 855 euros ($ 973) a month.

When Macron was elected in May 2017, he promised to liberate the economy; however no significant measures, were taken. In spite of some cosmetic reforms– such as limits on allowances for unfair dismissal or the slightly increased possibility that small businesses could negotiate short work contracts — the French labor code, still one of the most rigid in the developed world, expertly blocks job creation. The tax burden (more than 45% of GDP) is the highest in the developed world. Even if some taxes were abolished since Macron became President, many new taxes were created. Public expenditure still accounts for about 57% of GDP (16% above the OECD countries average) and shows no signs of waning.

Macron also promised, when he was elected, to restore security. Lack of security, however, has been exploding; the number of violent assaults and rapes has been steadily on the rise. No-go zones are as widespread as a year ago and fiercely out of control. The influx of unvetted illegal immigrants into the country has sadly turned entire neighborhoods into slums.

In May, Macron warned that in many suburbs, France has “lost the fight against drug trafficking“.

When Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb resigned in on October 3, he spokeof a “very degraded situation” and added that in many areas “the law of the strongest — drug-traffickers and radical Islamists — has taken the place of the Republic.” He was simply confirming the chilling assessments of “out of favor” commentators such as Éric Zemmour, author of Le Suicide Français, and Georges Bensoussan, author of Une France Soumise (A Submissive France).

Riots are frequent; they indicate the growing inability of the government to maintain order. Public transport strikes, which took placeduring the entire spring of 2018, were accompanied by demonstrations and an enthusiastic looting of banks and shops. France’s victory at the soccer World Cup in July was followed by jubilation, which quickly gave way to violence by groups who broke store windows and attacked the police.

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