We have be quick to associate the ills of Europe with Greece, Spain and Italy but now with the riots and police-state security spread around the major cities of France, the new mess of Europe is of course France. One of our partners was recently in France and while talking to a local, mentioned that in the US major cities still have daily gun violence. The French national cut him off and said that Paris and other major citie have had gun violence for years. The shock of hearing this was not the fact that there was gun violence in cities across France but the fact that the French could keep this a secret from the international press. The local went on to explain that anything, any news that points to migrant or gun violence is not fit for the press. After a short walk it became clear that regular police were supported by a national unit as ever 2nd street corner had two elite unit police with what looked like automatic weapons. France has problems.
In the past 15 years, there have been hundreds of violent protests across France that resulted in deaths and the burning of tens of thousands of automobiles and almost nothing was reported in the international press. Currently little is known about what is happening in France.
Over the past three weeks, riots, looting and destruction of property has spread around Paris, with one riot resulting in police units being overrun by a mob and having their weapons taken away. Now the protesters are armed and dangerous. Mr Macron has been strong, especially with the international backing of his close ally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but now that her regime is winding down and their rule in question, Germany will not be the major backer of France going forward. Sure, they will have an alliance but surely the power base of the EU is fading – just ask the UK, Italy and other members who are questioning Brussels.
Next year, there will be a broader focus on Europe and the core – France and Germany – will be struggling to form a new power base. The anti-establishment views of some European members will be voiced in the European Parliament elections next year while Angela Merkel moves on and while President Macron is exposed. These current riots in Paris and other cities are eating away at the core for Mr Macron. And note that the relationship between Italy and France has weakened as Salvini is now questioning the migration issue, one that President Macron fully supports – like Merkel, Macron wants to change Europe.
Some say riots in Paris are just the beginning of a new wave of populism spreading across Europe.