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"Monarch" Macron, an out-of-touch president

France is a republic that creates monarchs out of its presidents only to behead them

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Monday, January 28, 2019

Macron’s government abruptly raised the price of car fuel, without any comprehension of millions  living in rural parts of the country, where public transport is lacking and driving is an unavoidable reality of life. But that became a bridge too far,  the last straw that broke the camel’s back!
Macron’s government abruptly raised the price of car fuel, without any comprehension of millions living in rural parts of the country, where public transport is lacking and driving is an unavoidable reality of life. But that became a bridge too far, the last straw that broke the camel’s back!

By N. Peter Kramer 

France is a republic that creates monarchs out of its presidents only to behead them. Or so goes the cliche. With Emmanuel Macron it was not necessary for the French to declare him ‘monarch’;he proclaimed the role himself immediately  after his election.

He summoned French parliamentarians and senators to the bombastic Palace of Versailles, the 18th century home of King Louis XIV, called ‘le Roi Soleil’ (the Sun King).  

Like every new resident of the Elysee, the presidential palace in Paris,  President Macron arrived promising grand reform. But he chose a strange way to finance it. He started by lowering the wealth tax for his (and his wife’s) friends, the very rich of France. After that he froze the level of old-age benefits for millions of elderly French all the while during a period of rising cost of living. 

Next, Macron’s government abruptly raised the price of car fuel, without any comprehension of millions  living in rural parts of the country, where public transport is lacking and driving is an unavoidable reality of life. But that became a bridge too far,  the last straw that broke the camel’s back! 

Perhaps it came as a slight  surprise to many, when the streets of Paris were engulfed in flames last month as the Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) movement emerged from nowhere. The protests have morphed into general outrage all over the country at the cost of living and the seemingly out-of-touch president, Emanuel Macron.

The fuel tax was part of his effort to  tackle climate change and his broader aim to restore France’s prestige in the world. But as one yellow vest put it: ‘we are talking about the cost of living and Macron is talking ecology. His solution for people who can’t afford food by the end of the month is to buy solar panels and electric cars’. 

The yellow vests are doing considerable damage to the President’s grand reform agenda.  ‘Brussels’, expecting that France will be in breach of the EU deficit rules, has already shown some indulgence.  The Italian government, which plans to breach the deficit rules, has already taken some advantage of the expected French shortcoming.

The European Commission has shown remarkable comprehension for the Italians.   


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