Macron on brink: Expert predicts MONTHS of chaos as ‘aloof’ president refuses to back down

Mr Macron used his New Year's Day address to the nation to emphasise his commitment to his reforms, which have triggered record-breaking strikes, crippling large sections of the country's transport network.

www.express.co.uk

used his New Year’s Day address to the nation to emphasise his commitment to his , which have triggered record-breaking , crippling large sections of the country’s transport network. However, Philippe Martinez, leader of the hardline CGF union, is showing no signs of backing down, and is plotting further industrial action later this month.

Mr Macron used his New Year’s Day address to the nation to emphasise his commitment to his reforms, which have triggered record-breaking strikes, crippling large sections of the country’s transport network. However, Philippe Martinez, leader of the hardline CGF union, is showing no signs of backing down, and is plotting further industrial action later this month.

Dr Joseph Downing, LSE Fellow Nationalism in the European Institute at the London School of Economics, told Express.co.uk: “France is proving very interesting.

“I don’t think it is as simple as Macron being out of touch per se.

“But it is more the paradox of modern France – everyone voices the need for reform (hence polls consistently confirm support for ‘reform’).

“However, no one wants to have their privileges eroded nor carry the burden of reform.

“Thus the private sector point to the bloated public sector, the public sector point back and demand better enforcement of the tax regime etc

“All the while even Macron himself fails to mention his own privileged position nor that of French MPs who spend an obscene amount of money on expenses – showing that even the reformer par excellence wants others to carry the painful burden of reform.”


The consequence was Mr Macron was unlikely to compromise, said Dr Downing, unlike previous French leaders who have found themselves bogged down by domestic opposition – Nicholas Sarkozy for example.

He explained: “He has no choice but to push on as backtracking is even more harmful politically.

But workers have been angered by the inclusion of a clause requiring people to work until 64 in order to qualify for a full pension – two years past the official retirement age.

Numerous train lines, especially in Paris, have been seriously disrupted as a result of the strikes.

Unions are trying to force the former investment banker to abandon his plans, with nationwide strikes since December 5, making them the longest in the country since the upheaval of 1968.

Mr Macron said in the prime-time televised address to the nation: “The retirement reform that I’ve committed myself to before you will be carried through because it is a project of social justice and progress.”

He also stressed his belief that a compromise with unions would be found – but Mr Martinez was unmoved, telling broadcaster BFM: “I was under the impression of having heard these words a thousand times.

“I still do not see anything new in the government’s position.

“The alarm signal needs to be louder, we need strikes everywhere.”

 

Nevertheless, he said his organisation would be among those meeting with government officials on January 7.

He also stressed his belief that a compromise with unions would be found – but Mr Martinez was unmoved, telling broadcaster BFM: “I was under the impression of having heard these words a thousand times.

“I still do not see anything new in the government’s position.

“The alarm signal needs to be louder, we need strikes everywhere.”

Nevertheless, he said his organisation would be among those meeting with government officials on January 7.

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Macron on brink: Expert predicts MONTHS of chaos as 'aloof' president refuses to back down

FRANCE must brace itself for months more upheaval as 2020 gets underway because "aloof" President Emmanuel Macron "has no choice" but to press on with his controversial pension reforms, while all sides will continue to blame each other for the ongoing turmoil, a political analyst has warned.

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