Commentary Paris riots

France’s “clock master” bows to the anger

By cancelling the tax increase on oil and electricity, as well as raising the minimum wage, Macron chose a strategy which has already cost France dearly in the past. France’s "clock master” had to prostrate himself before the people, comments Jędrzej Bielecki.

Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande all threw money at the problem when protesters took to the streets. Which is why France is the only country aside from Italy, which is still waiting for reforms to fix its economy. 

Macron’s situation is dire, however. The crux of his power system was the vision of an all-knowing president, after all. He’d be the one to direct course of the nation, a “clock master”, who decides when to quicken and when to slow down reforms. Now, someone else is influencing the president’s agenda. “Macronism” might not get up from this blow, as less than a quarter of the French trust their head of state.

He’d be the one to direct the course of the nation, a “clock master”, who decides when to quicken and when to slow down reforms. Now, someone else is influencing the president’s agenda

This decision has consequences in the context of Europe. Macron travelled to Berlin immediately after his election with a clear deal: France will reform and cut the deficit budget to below 3 percent GDP and in exchange, Berlin will agree to changes proposed by France within the Eurozone.

It turns out that France will probably be unable to fulfil their part of the deal. The worsening economic situation in Europe probably isn’t enough to convince Germany that France is a serious partner with whom they can rebuild the EU.

In Poland, who for the last 18 months has been constantly insulted by Macron, such a weakening will probably be received with relief.

The increase of taxes on oil was meant to be part of the strategy to combat greenhouse gases. Macron wanted to paint himself as anti-Trump, who wanted to save the world. Meanwhile, neither Macron nor the French PM showed up to COP24 Katowice, because they had to make concessions towards the Paris protestors at the cost of environmental changes. 

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