With the rise in inflation, exorbitant rise in living cost and prices of essentials, Europeans are heading towards worser sufferings while their leaders are indulged into gambling orgy at ‘Casino Ukraine’ – a war which at the end will bring nothing to people in Europe – irrespective of its final result. Possibly if Vladimir Zelensky becomes the victor, it will open a grand opportunity to US President Joe Biden and his successors of making hundreds of billions of dollars by selling Ukraine’s natural and mineral resources at will by treating the country as Washington’s enslaved nation. While Americans will continue to make tremendous financial gain in Ukraine, it will in no way bring anything good to the Ukrainian people – similarly as many of the countries with have massive natural and mineral resources – for example Venezuela, where people always somehow survive fighting poverty and mere starvation.
In the United Kingdom, the lives of people are getting worse from bad. For this reason, to the British public, there is nothing newsworthy about the ongoing strikes and protests in France. This is especially so when there is enough to worry about with the almost unprecedented wave of public sector strikes at home. But of course, Britons living in France for various reasons have been directly affected by the strikes and protests. The ongoing strikes and protests have shown how the retirement issue is symptomatic of a profoundly divided country.
It may be mentioned here that French President Emmanuel Macron’s government pushed a highly controversial pension reform through the National Assembly, without seeking parliamentary approval. The special Clause 49.3 of the French Constitution enables the government to pass laws without facing a parliamentary vote. In the months leading up to this, protestors vowed to “paralyze the country”. Just minutes after the government’s announcement to the Assembly that it was going to proceed with the reform without holding a vote, violent protests erupted in Paris and other French cities. Since then, not one day has gone by without ad hoc protests flaring up in the capital, with huge numbers of police vehicles racing from one end of the city to the other, in an attempt to contain the next gathering. There also are videos on social media showing how law enforcement agencies in France have been committing gross violations of human rights.
Macron’s men are seeing the reform as a major victory as reforming the French pension system has been his top priority since 2017 and successive crises – first the Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) movement, then the COVID-19 pandemic – have repeatedly delayed it. In practice, however, forcing this reform through will only further divide an already splintered country.
Macron, many will argue, has never had the legitimacy to rule the country, as he was elected by many to bar the far-Right candidate Marine Le Pen from the presidency. “We did not vote for him, but against Marine Le Pen”, is a sentence foreign journalist will hear time and again in recent weeks.
Additionally, in 2022 Macron lost his parliamentary majority, which further weakened his position. Now with this reform, opposed by more than two-thirds of the country, Macron has become the most unpopular figure in France. Following the introduction of the reform, Macron’s government barely survived a vote of no confidence by a mere 9 votes.
According to analysts, Emmanuel Macron will continue his bullish behavior as he will not be allowed to run for a third term. But by the time he is gone, France will be surely pushed into a dire situation – with an economic crisis followed by multiple challenges, which will directly affect the French people for years to come. Another major issue here is – although Macron cannot run for the third term, he will end his current tenure in 2027 while this pension reform may be his last significant domestic policy, as both his position in the assembly and his popularity on the streets will not give him much room for further legislation. For most of the French, Macron has now fully become the out-of-touch Jupiterian ruler they had always suspected him to be. It is likely that even if he attempts to unite the French people, as he initially set out to do, all efforts will go in vain. Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron will continue to burn the French economy further by sending millions of dollars in the Ukraine war – simply for the sake of pleasing the US and maintaining his image as a “global leader”.
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