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Posts Tagged ‘France’

Italien und Frankreich: Sie wollen zerschlagen, nicht bauen

Posted by hkarner - 9. Februar 2019

Italiens Populisten provozieren Frankreich in unerhörtem Ausmaß. Das ist mehr als das übliche Getöse vor der Europawahl – und verheißt nichts Gutes für die Zukunft.

Luigi di Maio (l.) und Matteo Salvini, dargestellt in einem Bild eines italienischen Straßenkünstlers 

Frankreich hat seinen Botschafter aus Italien abgezogen – zu Besprechungen. Es ist ein dramatischer Akt des Protestes eines befreundeten und verbündeten Staates. Der unmittelbare Anlass war ein Ausflug des italienischen Vizepremiers Luigi Di Maio in die südlich von Paris gelegene Kleinstadt Montargis. Di Maio traf sich dort mit den Vertretern der französischen Gelbwesten.

Warum auch nicht, muss sich Di Maio wohl gedacht haben. Er sieht in den Gelbwesten ein Spiegelbild seiner eigenen Fünf-Sterne-Bewegung (M5S) – so wild, so ungestüm, so amorph wie sie sind. Postideologisch nennt Di Maio das.

Der Vertreter der Gelbwesten, den er gemeinsam mit einer hochrangigen M5S-Abordnung traf, war allerdings auf dem traditionellen Rechts-links-Schema recht gut einzuordnen: Der 52 Jahre alte Schmied Christophe Chalencon forderte schon mehrmals offen die Machtübernahme der Armee in Frankreich. Nicht gerade postideologisch.

Di Maio kümmerte das wenig. Er fuhr zurück nach Italien und verkündete fröhlich: „Der Wind des Wandels hat die Alpen überquert!“

„Macron ist ein fürchterlicher Präsident“ Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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An Italian Warning for France

Posted by hkarner - 30. Januar 2019

Dominique Moisi is Senior Counselor at the Institut Montaigne in Paris. He is the author of La Géopolitique des Séries ou le triomphe de la peur.

With Italy’s populist government supporting the “Yellow Vest” protests, France needs to understand how and why it has become the principal target of Italian criticism. Reckoning with this latest turn of events could help France to overcome its own internal divisions and prevent Italian-style populism from taking power in Paris.

PARIS – The support from Italy’s populist leaders for the in France is a sad first in the history of the European Union. Never before has one of the six founding countries of the European project intervened so resolutely in the domestic affairs of another. To add insult to injury, Italy is supporting a movement that contains elements who clearly reject fundamental European values of tolerance and respect for democratic institutions.

Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Die französisch-deutsche Freundschaft ist nicht genug

Posted by hkarner - 27. Januar 2019

Sigmar Gabriel

Sigmar Gabriel, former German Minister of Foreign Affairs, is a member of the Bundestag.

BERLIN – Vor dem Hintergrund des in Aachen erneuerten deutsch-französischen Freundschaftsvertrags ist es ganz interessant, auf die Unterschiede zu schauen zwischen der Beurteilung des binationalen Verhältnisses, als 1963 der Elysée-Vertrag zustande kam, und der heutigen Wahrnehmung des so oft als „Motor der europäischen Einigung“ gelobten deutsch- französischen Tandems.

Im Zentrum des Aachener Vertrags steht die Idee einer europäischen Verteidigungsgemeinschaft. Das ist nicht neu. Sie wurde bereits 1950, nur fünf Jahre nach Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs, zwischen Frankreich und Deutschland diskutiert. Es waren vor allem die USA, die vor dem Hintergrund des Koreakriegs darauf drängten, dass West-Deutschland in ein gemeinsames europäisches Verteidigungsnetz eingebunden werden soll. Der sogenannte Pleven-Plan scheiterte schließlich am französischen Parlament – man fürchtete eine zu große Abhängigkeit von den USA. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Paris plucks the goose: digital taxation

Posted by hkarner - 2. Januar 2019

Economist, 2-1

France’s new sales tax on big technology firms, including Google and Facebook, kicked in on January 1st, with the aim of bringing in €500m ($575m) a year. The French government has led calls to squeeze more tax revenue from digital giants, but a national levy wasn’t its first choice; it had pushed for a European Union-wide tax, but this was stymied by opposition from Ireland, Sweden and others. While Eurocrats have another go at forging consensus—with a new deadline of March—a dozen member states have either announced plans to follow France’s lead or say they may do so. These national levies, and the EU one, are supposed to be interim measures that will be withdrawn once a multilateral digital-tax framework is agreed under the auspices of the OECD. But a global deal looks far off, not least because America, home to the biggest technology firms, sees such taxes as discriminatory. Expect a transatlantic tech-tax tussle.

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The Coming Franco-German Bust-Up

Posted by hkarner - 26. Dezember 2018

Mark Leonard is Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

The partnership at the center of European integration is unraveling just when Euroskeptic forces are coming together. If French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel cannot start rebuilding the political center, next year’s European Parliament election will produce the biggest victory yet for anti-EU populists.

BERLIN – The politics of Brexit is descending into chaos. The European Union is fragmenting into northern, southern, eastern, and western tribes. And now the Franco-German marriage at the center of the European project is in danger of falling apart.

In May 2017, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel and newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron met for the first time, for a renewal of vows. Crowds of pro-European well-wishers urged them on. Macron, the fresh-faced reformer, seemed to have a Midas-like political touch. And Merkel was at the height of her power on the international stage, having been deemed the new “leader of the free world,” supplanting the “very stable genius” in the White House, Donald Trump.

Quoting the German author Hermann Hesse, Merkel observed that, “There is magic in every beginning,” but added a caveat: “The magic lasts only when there are results.” Eighteen months later, the magic most certainly has not lasted. Merkel has now of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and will not seek another term as chancellor. And Macron, far from walking on water, has been trying not to drown in a sea of yellow-vested protesters. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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If Macron Fails, Europe Fails

Posted by hkarner - 18. Dezember 2018

Date: 18-12-2018
Source: SPIEGEL A Commentary by Henrik Enderlein

Yellow Vests Protests

French President Emmanuel Macron has tried to calm protesters by raising the minimum wage, among other concessions. But if the yellow vests continue eroding his authority, it’s not just France that will suffer. And Germany is partly at fault.

The yellow vests in France are eroding President Emannuel Macron’s authority.

Famed German political sociologist Max Weber once argued that the two great drivers of revolutionary power were charisma and rationality. Charisma depends on enthusiasm, rationality on intellectualization. According to this blueprint, Emmanuel Macron would seemingly be the ideal revolutionary. He combines charisma and intellect like few others and believes in the need to change France, Europe and the world. The book about his campaign is called simply: „Révolution.“ Macron sees himself as a know-it-all in the best sense of the term, but precisely that is also his greatest weakness. Nowhere did Weber write that charisma and intellect magnify each other when combined. A glance at the trajectory of Macron’s popularity in France might lead to the assumption that the two qualities cancel each other out. Can a charismatic leader be a know-it-all? Can a know-it-all have charisma? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Frankreich: Die Mittelschicht ist erschöpft

Posted by hkarner - 16. Dezember 2018

Frankreich ist ein Meister der Umverteilung. Doch gebracht hat es in den vergangenen Jahren wenig. Die Mittelschicht leidet unter steigenden Lebenshaltungskosten.

Es ist purer Zufall und doch ein bezeichnendes Zusammentreffen, dass in diesen Dezembertagen in Frankreich zwei Themen immer wieder die Schlagzeilen bestimmen. Oft tun sie das sogar auf derselben Titelseite der Tageszeitungen oder hintereinander weg in Radio- und Fernsehnachrichten. Da ist einmal die Verhaftung und Anklage des mächtigen französischen Automanagers Carlos Ghosn in Japan, wo er jahrelang falsche Angaben zu seinem üppigen Verdienst gemacht haben soll. Und da sind zum anderen die anhaltenden Proteste der Gilets Jaunes, die in ihren leuchtend gelben Warnwesten gegen die ungerechte Verteilung der Einkommen demonstrieren.

Als hätten sie noch einer Rechtfertigung für ihren Aufruhr bedurft, deuten die Gelbwesten mit den Fingern auf wohlhabende Mitbürger wie Ghosn und würden Staatschef Emmanuel Macron am liebsten auch gleich ins Gefängnis sperren. Der von ihnen als Präsident der Reichen beschimpfte Hausherr im Elysée-Palast gibt ihrer Meinung nach denen, die ohnehin schon viel haben, und nimmt jenen, die nicht wissen, wie sie am Ende des Monats noch den Kühlschrank füllen sollen. „Macron Prison“ – Macron ins Gefängnis – reimt sich auf den Transparenten derzeit genauso gut wie „Macron Démission“ – Macron Rücktritt. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Macron Is German Taxpayers’ Last Hope

Posted by hkarner - 16. Dezember 2018

Date: 15-12-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

If French reforms fail, it’s hard to see how else the eurozone survives.

In reckoning with the 2016 British referendum that gave the world Brexit and then the U.S. election that gave the world Donald Trump, one truth hasn’t quite come into focus. So regularly were voters told that the winner couldn’t win, many likely thought they were casting a “safe” protest vote.

Brexit now appears to have been a gross miscalculation all the way around. Both the Tory and Labour parties were wrong-footed. There was no credible leadership faction ready with a plan for how the United Kingdom could make its exit from the European Union, restructure its economy, and survive and prosper.

But equally blundering have been the miscalculations in Brussels, Paris and Berlin. EU leaders leapt, and continue to leap, to the conclusion that torturing Britain on the way out is the key to making a troubled European Union sustainable, supposedly because it deters other from exiting. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The man with the golden desk

Posted by hkarner - 15. Dezember 2018

Date: 13-12-2018
Source: The Economist

Emmanuel Macron offers protesters benefits worth €10bn
And he tries to sound contrite

Even before a terrorist opened fire at the Christmas market in Strasbourg, killing two people and injuring a dozen more, Emmanuel Macron was facing the first real crisis of his presidency. After two weekends of rioting and four weeks of protests, a pale and chastened Mr Macron addressed the nation from the Elysée palace on the eve of the attack. His brow creased, his tone contrite, the French president acknowledged his mistakes—“I know I have hurt some of you with my words”—and promised a range of fiscal measures to boost pay packets and pensions.

Mr Macron’s address to the nation, watched by a staggering 23m people (more than watched France win the football World Cup in July), was the first time he had spoken publicly since violence engulfed central Paris on December 1st, as part of the country-wide gilets jaunes (“yellow jackets”) movement. The president promised that those on the minimum wage—currently €1,499 ($1,704) a month—would receive a net extra €100 each month without any cost to employers (partly through an expanded wage subsidy). An increase in social charges on pensions for those on less than €2,000 a month will be cancelled. Overtime and end-of-year bonuses offered by employers would be free of taxes and charges. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe’s summiteers have little to celebrate, besides not being British

Posted by hkarner - 15. Dezember 2018

Date: 13-12-2018
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne

Franco-German dysfunction makes it impossible to clear Europe’s roadblocks

Brexit may be tearing Britain’s political establishment apart, but the 27 remaining states of the eu have held firm. The European Commission’s red lines—principally the insistence that there can be no deal better than eu membership—have withstood the talks. As The Economist went to press, Theresa May was on her way to the European Council summit to beg for further concessions from eu leaders. They had ruled out any renegotiation of the Brexit deal and suggested only presentational tweaks, just stopping short of offering to repeat it more slowly and with pictures. Though few in Brussels relish the chaos in London and all are heartily sick of the Brexit saga, continental leaders allow themselves a little satisfaction at the competence with which their side has handled matters.

That, however, is to cling to a qualified success amid many failures. When not listening to Mrs May’s pleas, the 27 looked set to stumble through an agenda that reads as a gazetteer of roadblocks: problems where progress is proving glacial but which, if left unresolved, could ultimately fracture the union. All indicate the increasing dysfunction of the Franco-German relationship. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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