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Posts Tagged ‘Macron’

‘Revolution Française’ Review: The March of Macron

Posted by hkarner - 14. August 2018

Date: 13-08-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

In the span of one year, Macron created his own political party, took out his rivals on the left and the right, and became president of France. Philip Delves Broughton reviews “Revolution Française” by Sophie Pedder.

French President Emmanuel Macron at Versailles.

The presidency of France’s Fifth Republic was tailored for Charles de Gaulle. Subsequent presidents have tried to alter it to their own personalities, with varying degrees of success—the jacket billows out, the pants sag around the knees. But when Emmanuel Macron burst from political obscurity and into office in 2017, he seemed to throw out de Gaulle’s old threads and replace them with his own slim-cut navy suit, the uniform of France’s young professional class.

In the span of one astonishing year, from 2016 to 2017, Mr. Macron created his own political party, La République en Marche, and took out his rivals on the left and the right. He out-campaigned and raised more money than the stagnant major parties. He canvassed voters door to door, a technique that may be standard in many countries but is an act of scandalous populism in France. And he used digital databases to identify potential voters, something Paris’s political barons considered too outrageously modern. On the night of his election, Mr. Macron was 39 years old. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Macron and the Piranhas

Posted by hkarner - 29. Juli 2018

Bernard-Henri Lévy is one of the founders of the “Nouveaux Philosophes” (New Philosophers) movement. His books include Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism, American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville, and most recently, The Genius of Judaism.

Ever since Alexandre Benalla, a now-former security aide to French President Emmanuel Macron, was caught on video beating up demonstrators on May 1, France’s populists have been leading a political feeding frenzy. By focusing on Benalla, they hope to bring down another of Europe’s few remaining liberal leaders.

PARIS – The faults of Alexandre Benalla, a former top security aide to French President Emmanuel Macron who was caught on video beating up a demonstrator on May 1, are inexcusable. And it is well understood that Macron committed several errors of judgment by trusting for too long a young, inexperienced, showy bruiser who imagined himself to be a cop or a hooligan. Credit is owed to the journalists who compelled the Elysée Palace to end two and a half months of culpable silence and cut ties with Benalla.1

But beyond this scandal lies a more chilling sequence of events. Paralyzed by Macron’s steady drumbeat of important reforms, his opponents found in the Benalla scandal, at long last, a good fight to fight. But no one should revel in the fact that it was far-right leader Marine Le Pen and far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélénchon who led the attacks on Macron for his silence about his thuggish aide. There was something deeply hypocritical in the spectacle of these old warhorses, who rely so often on their own redneck guerrillas, defending the police against the “militias.”1 Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Macron’s Reformist Victory

Posted by hkarner - 25. Juli 2018

Date: 24-07-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Sophie Pedder

And What It Says About the Future of Unions in France

When French trade unionists strike, the public pays attention. Industrial actions in Paris are traditionally accompanied by manifs, or demonstrations—theatrical, festive events that often involve beating drums, flares, and barbecued meat. Tales of stranded commuters and packed train stations fill the airwaves, and the world’s media turns its gaze, fleetingly, to the French streets.

But few foreign observers are still watching by the time a strike fizzles out. On April 3, the unions at the French national railway, the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF), initiated a series of strikes, and the public lost interest even more quickly than usual. What is most newsworthy about these strikes, however, is not why they began, but why they ended. French President Emmanuel Macron has refused to bend to long-standing taboos in French culture against defying the SNCF’s unions, as indicated by his insistence on reforming the railways. Unions will remain a powerful force in French politics for a long time to come, but Macron’s recent win against the railway workers suggests that the days of their unchecked power to block reforms may be drawing to a close.

TRADITION DERAILED Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Jupiter humbled: Emmanuel Macron’s popularity hits a new low

Posted by hkarner - 15. Juli 2018

Date: 14-07-2018
Source: The Economist

Despite his many achievements, he felt obliged to sound humble this week

A YEAR ago, as a young freshly elected president eager to look the part, Emmanuel Macron summoned a joint sitting of both houses of parliament in the former royal palace at Versailles, and spoke loftily of grandeur and destiny. On July 9th, for his second speech to Congress, it was a more humble head of state who stepped into the chamber. “I know that I can’t do everything,” he declared, “I know that I won’t succeed in everything.” The setting was unchanged, but the tone was markedly different. A chastened president, it seems, is trying to recover his touch.

In a stiflingly hot chamber, as parliamentarians fanned their moist faces, Mr Macron sent two broad messages. First, that the president, so often accused of arrogance, is in fact listening. He spoke of voters’ anger and fear, of those who feel they are “ignored, held in contempt”, and struggle to make ends meet. Results, he warned, could take time to come through. But he would keep trying. Jupiter, in other words, may still be sitting on the republican throne, but he is not deaf to his critics, nor the concerns of ordinary folk.

His second message had less to do with style than philosophy. Mr Macron’s detractors accuse him of lacking ideology, or political clarity. He campaigned as neither on the left nor right, and invented a centrist party, which dominates the National Assembly, from nothing. Some one-time supporters on the left consider that the decisions taken in his first year—cuts to corporate and wealth taxes, a focus on curbing the budget deficit to below 3%, an increase in social charges on pensions—prove that the former Socialist minister has turned into a right-winger and “president of the rich”. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Macron’s Next Good Fight

Posted by hkarner - 23. Juni 2018

Date: 22-06-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Now he’s moving to shift France’s attitude to welfare and work.

For his next magic act, Emmanuel Macron wants to reform France’s creaking social-welfare programs. The French President last week released a Twitter video and delivered a speech launching a debate over social spending, and this will be his biggest reform fight to date—and also the most perilous.

Specific proposals for changes aren’t due until next month at the earliest. But the outline is likely to consist of more money for health-related spending, but significantly less for income supports and housing subsidies.

France is overdue for change. Social spending eats up around one-third of annual economic output, the highest proportion among countries in the OECD. And for what? “We put a crazy amount of dough into our social benefits and poor people are still poor,” Mr. Macron told his advisers in a video clip of a meeting released on Twitter last week. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Emmanuel Macron’s Empty Victory

Posted by hkarner - 22. Juni 2018

Date: 21-06-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Simon Nixon

French president’s deal with Germany on deeper eurozone integration is far from all he had hoped for

Emmanuel Macron campaigned to become president of France by wrapping himself in a European Union flag and promising to make Europe great again. He saw off his euroskeptic rival Marine Le Pen by offering an alternative vision of a “Europe which protects,” and expanded on that vision in a two-hour speech at the Sorbonne in September that outlined his manifesto for wide-ranging EU reform.

Now after weeks of intensive negotiation—including more than 30 hours of face-to-face talks over three weekends between French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and his German counterpart Olaf Scholz —Berlin and Paris have come up with a road map for deeper eurozone integration. And it is hard to escape the conclusion that Mr. Macron has come away largely empty-handed. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Ultimate Démarche: France Wants to Oust English From the EU

Posted by hkarner - 15. Juni 2018

Date: 14-06-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Prompted by Brexit, French President Emmanuel Macron wants to restore his language, the way it was before Britain joined

BRUSSELS—As if the European Union didn’t have enough to worry about, now it’s at odds over what should be its dominant language.

The Ultimate Démarche: France Wants to Oust English From the EU

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, wants to make French grand again and replace English as the default language in EU institutions, the way it was before Britain joined the bloc in 1973. With the U.K. negotiating to leave the EU next spring, he is eager to restore the linguistic ancien regime.

“English has probably never been so present in Brussels as when we’re talking about Brexit,” Mr. Macron said in March on the Day of Francophonie—a celebration of French language and culture observed in more than 70 countries. “This domination is not inevitable,” he declared. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Angela Merkel gives a distinctly limited response to Emmanuel Macron’s plans for euro-zone reform

Posted by hkarner - 8. Juni 2018

Date: 07-06-2018
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne

And that is (probably) as far as she will go

WHEN it came, it was everything and nothing at the same time. For over half a year Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, waited for a German response to the grand ideas for Europe’s future he had laid out at the Sorbonne last September. Governments rose and fell while Mr Macron drummed his fingers; the transatlantic bond stretched, and came close to snapping. When Angela Merkel finally gave her answer, on June 3rd, it came not in a big speech or a government statement, but in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS), a conservative broadsheet. How very like the German chancellor.

The responses to Mrs Merkel’s interview were like descriptions of the same object viewed through opposite ends of a telescope. For those sympathetic to French ambitions, the chancellor’s offers were weak, offering only baby steps towards the strengthened euro zone Mr Macron urges, constrained by the same old German red lines about rules and risk. Others were excited by what appeared to be the start of a genuine conversation, after months of waffle and delay. Some noted that Mrs Merkel went into considerably more detail than Mr Macron on matters like reform of the euro zone’s bail-out fund. So was this the start of something beautiful, or a great big German nothingburger? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Merkel Responds to Macron’s Plan to Overhaul EU With One of Her Own

Posted by hkarner - 5. Juni 2018

Date: 04-06-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

German chancellor’s suggestions, including combining defense capabilities and building a common eurozone investment fund, draw praise from France

German Chancellor Angela Merkel outlined proposals for overhauling and strengthening the architecture of the European Union in an interview published on Sunday, including combining nations’ defense capabilities and building a common investment fund for the eurozone.

While the suggestions broadly matched known German positions about the bloc’s future, they marked Ms. Merkel’s most direct and detailed reaction to proposals for overhauling the EU that French President Emmanuel Macron laid out in September.

The proposals, including beefing up an existing backstop for cash-strapped members of the eurozone and creating a joint budget for the currency union, came after capital markets briefly sank after the formation of a populist Italian government last week, evoking memories of the 2010 eurozone crisis. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Lifting Trump’s Playbook Is Risky for Europe

Posted by hkarner - 22. Mai 2018

Date: 21-05-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

With EU-U.S. relations at a low point, European leaders have ramped up the rhetoric

European Council President Donald Tusk, right, with Donald Trump in Brussels last year.

European leaders are playing a dangerous game.

Flattery, charm and traditional diplomacy failed to stop U.S. President Donald Trump from pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, exiting the Paris climate accord and threatening tariffs on European steel and aluminum. So now, with relations between the U.S. and the European Union at their lowest ebb in 70 years, they are ramping up the rhetoric.

Last week, European Council President Donald Tusk took a leaf out of Mr. Trump’s book, taking to Twitter to vent the anger that many Europeans feel toward the U.S. president: “Looking at the latest actions of Mr. Trump, someone could even think: with friends like this, who needs enemies.” Days earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron had bluntly warned against those “who would blackmail us because the international rules they helped develop no longer work to their advantage.”

This change in tone partly reflects the shock in Europe at U.S. decisions that officials in the region believe represent real threats to their interests as well as bewilderment that the U.S. could treat the views of its traditionally closest allies with such apparent disdain.

There have been periods of trans-Atlantic strain before—notably over the Iraq war—and Mr. Trump’s criticism of European defense spending has a long pedigree. But past U.S. administrations always treated the EU as a valued interlocutor that could help further U.S. policy objectives. Indeed the U.S. has been such a strong supporter of European integration, it has often appeared more pro-European than some EU members. In contrast, Mr. Trump gives the impression that he regards the EU as irrelevant. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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