Last week, following a series of violent but unrelated incidents in the country, French president Emmanuel Macron told ministers said the government needed to “counter this process of decivilisation”. The expression immediately provoked controversy. In this analysis, Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel says that despite what his supporters claim, the president's choice of the word “decivilisation” owes nothing to the late German sociologist Norbert Elias and instead owes everything to the normalisation of far-right ideas.
After its deeply-unpopular pension reform was forced into law, the government of President Emmanuel Macron set itself a target of 100 days to calm the country and reduce the level of protest. But instead the tone and style of the protests have simply changed; from outright anger to one of mockery. As Mathieu Dejean writes, the government is right to worry about the new derision it faces. For mockery and ridicule have triumphed over inflexible governments in the past.
The subject of water, or rather the lack of it, has become a major issue in France, where the dry winter and falling levels of water tables across much of the country are heightening fears of an impending record summer drought. A government-commissioned report published this month underlined that in the summer of 2022 “the worst” was narrowly avoided, and called for a “radical change in practices” in water management. But, as Floriane Louison reports, a “Water Plan” recently announced by President Emmanuel Macron is under fire for failing to properly address the practices aggravating the diminution of the precious resource.
Nationwide demonstrations against French President Emmanuel Macron’s reform of the pensions system continued on Tuesday, in the tenth separate day of action called by trade unions. The protests are chiefly over the reform’s raising of the age of retirement on full pension rights by two years to 64, which the government argues is necessary to fund the system. But one of the recurrent demands voiced by the marchers is for a tax on the super-rich instead, a proposition, resolutely opposed by Macron, that is also surprisingly gaining ground among elite economic circles. Mathias Thépot reports.
The current bitterly-opposed pension reforms proposed by the French government are purely designed to save money and have no broader social dimension. This means that President Emmanuel Macron and his supporters are now defending a reform measure which is diametrically opposed to the initial plan they had put forward back in 2017. This U-turn tells us a great deal about the flaws and limp nature of the government writes Ellen Salvi in this analysis of how and why the pension reform plan changed so radically during President Macron's time in office.
Nationwide strike action and mass demonstrations were held in France on Thursday in opposition to Emmanuel Macron’s reform of the French pensions system, which includes raising the age of retirement on full pension rights from 62 to 64. The government appears to hope that what its spokesman called the “weariness” of the population, amid galloping inflation and the hike in energy costs, will see the protests over its reform peter out. Ellen Salvi reports on how the president’s strategy has led to a weakening of public debate and a disintegration of social democracy, and why a victory for his reform would threaten to set a time bomb ticking in the ballot box.
Not long ago, artisan bakers were doing well in France's villages, towns and city centres as Covid restrictions encouraged people to shop local. But that has all now changed with the cost of living crisis, as the rising price of energy and raw ingredients has put their finances under pressure. And with households also feeling the pinch from the cost of living squeeze, France's bakers say they cannot keep on putting up prices indefinitely in order to make ends meet. Mathias Thépot reports.
On Monday December 5th former French president Nicolas Sarkozy began an appeal hearing following his conviction for corruption in the so-called 'Paul Bismuth' or phone-tapping case. At the original trial the ex-head of state was given a jail sentence but has not served a single night in prison. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan explains why it is that French politicians who are convicted in corruption cases so very rarely serve jail time despite the heavy prison sentences that such offences can attract.
Soaring energy costs have thrown the once flourishing glass-making industry in France into a crisis, and this has notably hit the small- and medium-sized businesses that account for an important part of its estimated 22,000-strong workforce. As glass-makers report a year-on-year quadrupling of their energy bills amid a parallel economic slowdown, some have been forced to shut down their ovens and to place staff on short-time working, and many now face the chilling prospect of not being able to survive the winter. Mathias Thépot reports.
The shocking sequestration, rape and murder in Paris last week of Lola, a 12-year-old girl whose body was found in a trunk in front of her apartment building home, has been transformed by the far-right and conservative hardliners into a political row over immigration policy after it was revealed that the arrested suspect is a young Algerian woman who since August was the subject of an expulsion order. The controversy snowballed this week, forcing the government onto the defence despite an appeal by Lola’s parents that no political gain should be made of the atrocious crime. Lucie Delaporte and Christophe Gueugneau report.