Paris protests present Macron a major challenge

By Vincenzo Caccioppoli

Paris is burning due to the approval of the pension law strongly desired by President Macron, who paradoxically showed all his great weakness in an extreme gesture of strength.

The king is naked, this is the verdict that comes out by analyzing the matter closely. Macron is increasingly weaker and less loved by his country and the pension reform could only be the pretext to defenestrate him permanently.

It is not the first time that Macron has tried to reform a pension system which is among the most favorable in Europe.

Already in 2019 the reform he was about to approve was frozen due to the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.

But even then the protests had been vibrant and had joined the very violent one unleashed by the yellow vests, due to the increase in the price of fuel. The defence of certain rights for French citizens is sacred and anyone who tries to touch them finds himself in front of street demonstrations.

It had already happened with Mitterand, with Chirac and with Sarkozy. But Macron compared to his predecessors also pays for the fact that he does not have a strong partityo behind him, but paradoxically his asecsa is due to the protest of the people against traditional politics and he represented the new one that gave hope. But gradually this hope faded and Macron’s decisiveness and his character apperties soon made him unpopular with the majority of the country.

His speech on television to justify his willingness to go ahead, albeit courageous, had the effect of making the protests in the country even harsher. Since the last elections, Macron has won without a clear majority in parliament, and this has led to great weakness in his government action.

His decision to approve the pension law without going through Parliament, which led to the cry of a coup, is determined by the fact that in parliament he would not have had the numbers to pass it. His decisiveness prompted him to go for broke, probably not imagining that the protests would be so tough. On the other hand, without raising the minimum retirement age by two years from the current 62 to 64 of the new law, the state deficit would grow.

In Germany the minimum age is 67, in Italy 65, but France, as we know, has within itself that sort of grandeur which places it in the eyes of its inhabitants at a level of superiority compared to other countries. This very difficult situation at home is added to a substantial weakness of the French president also at the international level.

His relationship with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is at an all-time low. The famous Franco-German partnership in Europe is showing all its limits and its unsuccessful attempt to act as mediator with Putin, before the outbreak of war in Ukraine, has contributed to weakening him even with Usa dministration.

The rise in Europe of the new Italian premier Giorgia Meloni has certainly unnerved the French president, creating a diplomatic incident, due to the Ocean Viking ship that wanted to land in Italy with a load of migrants two months ago.

During the last European council, Macron had to hastily mend relations with the enterprising Italian premier. There is no doubt that the president is now looking to increase his weight and credibility internationally to overcome his great weakness at home.

His new reform on pensions had the great and exceptional merit of bringing Melenchon’s left and Le Pen’s right, his rival in the last presidential elections, into agreement. His victory, according to many experts, much narrower than expected, was possible precisely thanks to the presence of him as his direct rival of the right-wing exponent Marine Le Pen. More than the conviction in Macron and in his decisive ability for his victory and the fear of having an uncomfortable exponent like the president of the rassemblent national as president. Macron, who owes his success to the breakup of traditional parties, especially socialists and republicans, now has to count on them to overcome this moment of great difficulty.

But at the same time not trusting too much the parties that have clearly always seen him as an enemy, he wanted to try the extreme gesture of democratic forcing that the French constitution grants him. The risks were very high but in a way, from his point of view, almost obligatory.

A defeat in parliament on such an important law would have inevitably led to a government crisis and probable early elections. But the great protests unleashed in recent days could have the same effect and in any case lead the country to a sort of ungovernability that could only be resolved with recourse to early elections.

Macron resisted and ruled out any change to the deeply unpopular policy, and also rejected calls for a reshuffle of his government or the resignation of his prime minister, Élisabeth Borne.

He said he had only one regret: “I have not succeeded in convincing people of the necessity of this reform.”

Opinion articles featured on Redaction Report reflect the views of their author, not those of the publication as a whole. Only Editorials display the opinions of our management.

Featured Image: Pixabay

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