Emmanuel Macron, who rose to the French presidency with pretensions of becoming France's great hope for a brighter future, has, alas, ended up nothing short of a great disappointment.
Those most pained by this increasing realization are no doubt the throngs who elected Macron in the first place. However, the list of those whose begrudgement the premiere has earned expands to include the nation of Macedonia, whose EU membership talks he blocked after the Balkan nation dared to change its name to North Macedonia; the victims of the bloodshed inflicted on Libyans by warlords supported by the French; the French women and children who have not been allowed to return to France because their husbands became terrorists for Daesh; and the innocents murdered by the People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorist organization.
We can expand this list even further. However, the public, whether in France or around the world, have little doubt that Macron’s policies are even worse than those of Nicolas Sarkozy. However, the French citizens, who have to pay the price of Macron's faulty policies, are now saying "enough is enough."
Now, it is not only the “gilets jaunes,” but every type of worker and the groups representing them who are out on the streets. In reality, the problem is no longer only based on reform regarding retirement. Both the strikes and the demonstrations have broadened their demands, with the rallying cry across most of France being: “Macron, démission!” Meanwhile, an unconvincing band of liberals groups out in support of Macron continues to dwindle in number, while Marine Le Pen increases in strength. Not only that, the Greens, Conservatives, Socialists, Communists and all who are in opposition of Macron are crying out for “new hopes.”
In reality, however, Macron is right when it comes to retirement reform. The economy of France is not getting any better. Despite this, the countless opportunities for retirement in France and the "luxury" of retirement over 55 years of age reminds us of why Greece sunk into bankruptcy. Retirees within France can enjoy a choice of more than 40 different types of retirement plans and are the youngest in the EU to receive what are considerably huge sums. It would be very hard for France to endure this situation for long, and it is no surprise that the French people have taken to the streets, having grown accustomed to the laziness retirement affords at the age of 55. In fact, there are even earlier and more lucrative retirement plans available. The inequalities between retirees are unacceptable.
When we look at it from this perspective, France has needed reform in this matter for many years. However, French citizens, who are very experienced and skilled in taking to the streets and whittling down the government's patience, have not allowed this. Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy tried too, and failed.
It is impossible for Emmanuel Macron to succeed either. He has lost his power by making errors in every field. Now, although in a justified position, he does not have the chance to receive the broad support needed from the citizenry in order to make good on his plans. In fact, in the minds of many, the matter is no longer one of retirement at all. Many employees are supporting the strikes with demands and expectations regarding their own fields. We aren’t even touching the matter of the gilets jaunes, or "yellow vests." Starting from this Saturday, we will see their numbers growing. Macron’s answer to this is police brutality on a level unacceptable in the EU. If anything, this only actually makes the matter worse.
“Black Thursday” is ongoing.
On Thursday alone, more than 1.5 million employees went on a strike. 90% of the high-speed trains and 70% of the suburban trains were canceled, international train links were severed and flights were grounded. Essentially, public transport came to a stand-still. In the capital, meanwhile, schools, kindergartens and day-care centers remained closed, with 78% of teachers having gone on a strike. About 800,000 employees demonstrated on the streets, while those looking to cause chaos jumped at the opportunity.
Friday was no different either. And Saturday, as the yellow vests' regular demonstration day, will no doubt see a repeat. The demonstrations that are being organized over the internet are also showing the power of the web in action.
France's economy is in a tough situation. On one hand, strikes are making things difficult, while on the other, the U.S.'s 100% increase on French products in response to Macron's decision to tax American digital companies is dealing a huge blow to the economy of France. The French people, meanwhile, who are going to suffer due to measures on key exports, such as champagne, dairy, cosmetics and other products sold en masse to the U.S., have to also calculate the losses they will face due to strikes.
In addition, these strikes have an impact across Europe, not only because of the railways and air traffic. Sectors that are in close business relations with France are also suffering the negative consequences of the strikes.
In short, French citizens calling out “Macron, démission!” are not the only ones with vested interests in the premiere's hasty exit. For example, the workers of the Opel factory in Germany, which was bought by the French CSA (Peugeot/Citroen) company a short while ago, are also concerned. And they are right to be.