After French President Emmanuel Macron’s surprise move to ram through his unpopular pension reform scheme without a single vote, the move will have long-lasting implications for France and its entire system of democracy. It also raises the question: How will the EU react to this in-your-face authoritarian move?
Both the optics and the practical reality of Macron’s decision to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 by decree are disastrous, and they represent not just a loss of legitimacy for Macron but likely also for Brussels. Macron, however, knows the EU will make no move to condemn his country, slap him with sanctions, or call out the “democratic deficit” in France despite his naked display of power. In fact, the EU’s technocratic elites are privately cheering on pension reform, a move they have enforced in a wide array of southern countries in exchange for bailouts in the past.
It is also true that Macron technically has the power, according to the constitution, to bypass parliament, but it ultimately raises questions about whether France can even be called a democracy to begin with, especially when it relates to an agenda that the French public are passionately opposed to.
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In fact, the polling around the issue makes Macron’s move all the more shocking.
Between 72 percent and 75 percent of the country was opposed to pension reform. Not only that, the French clearly want more, not less, democratic input when it comes to pension reform, with 75 percent saying they want a referendum on the issue. A whopping 78 percent are against Macron using Article 49.3 of the constitution to unilaterally push through pension reform.
However, much like mass immigration, which France has more of than ever before, the French are getting exactly what they do not want, all thanks to “democracy.”
The public backlash to Macron has been palpable, with hundreds if not thousands of arrests already made across the country following his dictatorial decree. Unions are promising to ramp up protests, gas stations are already running short of fuel, and Macron may soon face what is perhaps the worst crisis of his reign, including a new wave of “Yellow Vest” protests.
This brings us to Viktor Orbán. His country, Hungary, is currently facing rule-of-law sanctions from the EU worth billions over so-called democratic deficits and backsliding, yet he remains immensely popular in his country. His approval is still hovering over 50 percent, while Macron lingers at 26 percent. Borderline psychotic partisan politicians like German Green MEP Daniel Freund, who shows an unhealthy obsession with Orbán with non-stop posts about Hungary on Twitter, has not made a single peep about Macron, instead continuing to focus his ire on Orbán, despite “democracy.”
He is emblematic of the entire EU establishment.
Nothing will change with the EU’s stance toward France because it is not about morality, and it is not about democracy — it is about power. It is about punishing your enemies and rewarding your friends. Macron is a friend of the liberal establishment that runs Brussels, and behind these power brokers are billions of euros, NGOs, and a media empire backing more power for Brussels and mass immigration. Macron is on board with that agenda, and Orbán is not.
Much like the EU’s claims about corruption in Hungary, also a factor in the Brussels commitment to sanctions, the EU cannot look at itself in the mirror.
The black-and-white reality of police violence and anti-democratic measures in France may be staring all of Europe in the face. The people of Hungary are not facing police batons after protesting a massively unpopular authoritarian decree from their leader, and Hungary’s working-class are not facing tear gas, protest bans, and other forms of repression. Again, none of this matters. What matters is power, and those opposed to the likes of Macron would be well advised to learn this lesson. Prayers, “doing the right thing,” and morals are for you, while winning is their only agenda.
The EU will continue to masquerade as a democratic institution and use “democracy” as a buzzword because this word has power and helps the EU pursue its agenda of centralization and ridding itself of dissent. The EU is full of little Macrons, after all — a technocratic elite that are privately disdainful of “democracy” but know they can say this word, along with words like “racism” and “disinformation,” to get the midwits on board with their agenda.
As critics have pointed out for years, the EU itself lacks any real democracy, with both the European Council and European Commission, the two real power centers in Brussels, not having a single elected member among their ranks. As for the European Parliament, voter participation in parliamentary elections across Europe was 50.6 percent in 2019, far lower than almost all European national elections.
In a fully centralized EU, raising the retirement age all at once would in theory be far easier, with a decree from Brussels rubber stamped by the European Parliament. That applies to a whole host of issues, including immigration, defense, and green energy. These Brussels-based Macrons would have more power than ever before.
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The goal for those opposed to Brussels and the likes of Macron now is to put this hypocrisy on full display. It is true that conservatives, libertarians and even the anti-establishment left tend to mock their own reliance on pointing out hypocrisy, arguing it is a sign of powerlessness, but it does, at the same time, resonate with people. And let’s face it, this is often the only option left.
The protests seen in France are trending across Twitter, and questions are being asked about why the EU is allowing this authoritarianism from a founding member state. Macron has survived a no-confidence vote by a mere nine votes. There are also rumors that his ally, Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne, may resign due to the vote being far closer than was originally predicted.
Regardless of the outcome of Macron’s political career, he and his backers in Brussels, along with the “democracy” they endlessly prattle on, are engaged in an all out war “the people.” it is now a question who wins in the end. With the EU looking to implement a massive censorship regime across social media, once again, they are playing to win.