The recent stories across Europe have focused on the challenges of President Emmanuel Macron and his inability to control the narrative. He sold himself as the the young dynamic Frenchman who would lead France and the new European renaissance, changing the path of the Sick Man of Europe, France. Now there are growing concerns that the French crisis could turn into a European crisis, simply because Macron lacks the experience to lead.
Clearly the answer that Macron presented to the people is not working. He put together a nationwide Great Debate that included people from all walks of life – they immediately shouted and taunted the President asking about 50,000 EURO dinners and the expensive designer clothes his wife, Brigitte Macron wears, some say while getting paid handsomely for this advertisement.
The European economy (GDP) was just downgraded from growth of 1.7 percent to 1.2 percent, likely accelerating social unrest.
But looking past the taunts that the working class fired at the self-proclaimed new leader of France and Europe (now that Merkel has vanished), some are saying that his Great Debate is turning into a failure while giving oxygen to the demonstrators who just will not give up. Recent surveys show that 40,000 to 50,000 “Yellow Vests” still occupy the streets on some weekends- and they are being brutalized by police, according to reports.
One demonstrator lost part of his hand during clashes with police while another lost an eye, triggering a debate on the police using rubber bullets and other dangerous projectiles while demonstrators claim that they are taking head shots, not body shots. The peaceful Yellow Vests are coming under threats of violence from Left leaning fringe groups and in some towns riots are breaking out. Is Macron losing control of the streets?
The so-called Great Debate is not having the desired effect, in fact it seems to be galvanizing the center and center right.
At Classiarius, we see a deeper and more pressing issue that most of the press is not addressing. We see the recent economic slowdown in Europe, and the skyrocketing debt as problems that will force Macron out of office and spill over into the wide debate of the European Elections. Macron is not addressing the economic issues, the waves of migrants who are not working in what economists call the scarring effect on society with regards to employment of youth (no work for 5 to 10 years damages an entire generation) – the end result being a polarization of society.
French society needs to come together, but it seems that Macron, regardless of good intentions, is having a polarizing effect on France and Europe.