Category Archives: France

(LeMonde) Antonio Costa : « Je partage les mêmes idées que Macron »

(LeMonde)

Dans un entretien avec « Le Monde », le premier ministre socialiste portugais, associé à la gauche radicale dans son pays, explique pourquoi il veut s’allier avec le président français au niveau européen.

Antonio Costa à l’Elysée, le 20 mai.
Antonio Costa à l’Elysée, le 20 mai. LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

Premier ministre socialiste du Portugal depuis 2015 grâce à une alliance inédite avec la gauche radicale, Antonio Costa est souvent présenté comme l’un des espoirs de la gauche en Europe, parce qu’il a réussi à faire sortir son pays de la cure d’austérité imposée en échange d’un plan d’aide de la zone euro. Il a toutefois récemment soutenu Emmanuel Macron.

Votre vidéo appelant à l’unité « des forces progressistes » avec Emmanuel Macron a suscité beaucoup de critiques des gauches françaises et portugaises. Aux élections européennes, soutenez-vous le président français ou Raphaël Glucksmann, la tête de liste PS-Place publique ?

Les choix de politique intérieure sont les choix des Français. Mais au niveau européen, il faut absolument bâtir une grande alliance progressiste et démocratique au moment où l’extrême droite construit son internationale. J’ai envoyé un message sur une vision européenne qu’on partage avec Emmanuel Macron ; de la même façon que j’ai envoyé un message à Alexis Tsipras [le premier ministre grec de gauche]. Il faut bâtir au sein du Conseil européen un grand front pour l’avenir de l’Europe.

Y compris avec La République en Marche, que les socialistes français classent à droite ?

Au niveau européen, on siège à vingt-huit. Et à vingt-huit, il faut trouver des points de vue en commun et des alliances. Sur plusieurs sujets, à commencer par la réforme de la zone euro, on partage les même idées avec le président Macron, qui a donné une impulsion supplémentaire aux efforts réformistes pour bâtir une Europe plus proche des citoyens.

(BBC) Notre-Dame: Massive fire ravages Paris cathedral

(BBC)

A major fire has engulfed the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, one of France’s most famous landmarks.

The 850-year-old Gothic building’s spire and roof have collapsed but the main structure, including the two bell towers, has been saved, officials say.

Firefighters are still working to contain the blaze as teams try to salvage the artwork stored inside.

President Emmanuel Macron called it a “terrible tragedy”. The cause of the fire is not yet clear.

Officials say it could be linked to the renovation work that began after cracks appeared in the stone, sparking fears the structure could become unstable.

Paris prosecutor’s office said it had opened an inquiry into “accidental destruction by fire”. A firefighter was seriously injured while tackling the blaze.

Visibly emotional, Mr Macron said the “worst had been avoided” and vowed to launch an international fundraising scheme to rebuild the cathedral.

How did the fire spread?

The fire began at around 18:30 (16:30 GMT) and quickly reached the roof of the cathedral, destroying its stained-glass windows and the wooden interior before toppling the spire.

Damaged parts of cathedral
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Some 500 firefighters worked to prevent one of the bell towers from collapsing. More than four hours later, fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet said the main structure had been “saved and preserved” from total destruction.

Sections of the cathedral were under scaffolding as part of the extensive renovations and 16 copper statues had been removed last week.

Deputy Paris Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said the building had suffered “colossal damages”, and teams were working to save the cathedral’s remaining artwork.

Media captionThe fire department said a major operation was under way

Historian Camille Pascal told French broadcaster BFMTV that “invaluable heritage” had been destroyed, adding: “Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre-Dame. We can be only horrified by what we see”.

How have people reacted?

Thousands of people gathered in the streets around the cathedral, observing the flames in silence. Some could be seen openly weeping, while others sang hymns or said prayers.

Several churches around Paris rang their bells in response to the blaze, which happened as Catholics celebrate Holy Week.

INTERACTIVENotre-Dame cathedral fire

After

Image of Notre Dame with the tower missing

Before

Image of Notre Dame with the tower on fire

Because of the fire, Mr Macron cancelled a speech on TV in which he was due to address the street protests that have rocked France for months.

Visiting the scene, the president said the cathedral was a building “for all French people”, including those who had never been there.

“We’ll rebuild Notre-Dame together”, he said as he praised the “extreme courage” and “professionalism” of the firefighters.

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A symbol of a country

Analysis by Henri Astier, BBC World Online

No other site represents France quite like Notre-Dame. Its main rival as a national symbol, the Eiffel Tower, is little more than a century old. Notre-Dame has stood tall above Paris since the 1200s.

It has given its name to one of the country’s literary masterpieces. Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is known to the French simply as Notre-Dame de Paris.

The last time the cathedral suffered major damage was during the French Revolution. It survived two world wars largely unscathed.

Watching such an embodiment of the permanence of a nation burn and its spire collapse is profoundly shocking to any French person.

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Facts about Notre-Dame

  • The church receives almost 13 million visitors each year, more than the Eiffel Tower
  • A Unesco World Heritage site, it was built in the 12th and 13th centuries
  • Several statues of the facade of the Catholic cathedral were removed for renovation
  • The roof, which has been destroyed by the blaze, was made mostly of wood
  • Read more about the treasures of the cathedral
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What has been the international reaction?

The Vatican expressed “shock and sadness,” adding that it was praying for the French fire services.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered her support to the people of France, calling Notre-Dame a “symbol of French and European culture”.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a tweet: “My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral”.

Also on Twitter, US President Donald Trump said it was “horrible to watch” the fire and suggested that “flying water tankers” could be used to extinguish the blaze.

In an apparent response, the French Civil Security service said that was not an option as it might result in the collapse of the entire building.

(BBG) France’s Macron to Address Nation With Plans to Quell Discontent

(BBG) By Geraldine Amiel14 de abril de 2019, 18:02 WEST Updated on 14 de abril de 2019, 20:05 WEST

  •  President will unveil measures to appease discontent on Monday
  •  He’s also planning a rare press conference on Wednesday

French President Emmanuel Macron plans to address the nation Monday evening to announce a set of measures following a 10-week national debate devised to assuage grassroots discontent and relaunch his presidency, a month ahead of EU elections seen as a referendum on his policies.

Macron will also hold a press conference on Wednesday, his office said in a statement on Sunday. Underscoring the moment’s importance, it’s the first time the president who pledged to keep his distance from the media is doing an ask-me-anything session with reporters at the Elysee palace since taking office in May 2017.

France is waiting for Macron to set out conclusions after a series of debates with citizens, designed to take the heat out of the protests that have roiled the country since mid-November. Some 31,000 Yellow Vests turned out across the nation on Saturday for a 22nd consecutive weekend.

Read more: Macron Gets on Everyone’s Nerves With Brexit Hard Man Act

Having pushed through labor-market changes and other reforms during his first year, Macron is under pressure to restore momentum after a scandal over his bodyguard, a series of verbal gaffes and the resignations of some of his most popular ministers. His approval rating slipped 1 percentage point to 27 percent in an Ipsos poll published last week.

Some of his opponents, notably far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, are casting European Parliament elections in May as a referendum on Macron’s his policies.

What the French Want

Macron was meeting Sunday evening with his Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and his cabinet, to align everyone for the new direction to be unveiled Monday evening, a spokeswoman for his office said.

A decrease in income tax is favored by 82 percent of French people, according to a poll that asked respondents how Macron should react to the movement.

Scrapping privatizations, including the sale of Paris airports operator ADP, was supported by 62 percent of those surveyed in the Ifop poll for Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper. Measures such as linking low-end pensions to inflation, making it obligatory to have doctors in rural areas and scrapping France’s television license fee each garnered at least four-fifths support.

Yellow Vests have already pledged to stage new demonstrations in Paris next Saturday, on April 20.

(EUobserver) France and Germany to co-chair UN security council

(EUobserver)

France and Germany are to share the rotating presidency of the UN security council (UNSC). Unlike France, Germany serves as a non-permanent member of the UNSC. German foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday the country planned on using its role to “strengthen long-term conflict prevention.” France previously rejected German appeals to convert its permanent UNSC seat into an EU one.

(DN) Por um Renascimento europeu – Macron

(DN)

Emmanuel Macron, Presidente da República francesa, dirige-se aos cidadãos europeus num artigo publicado em vários jornais, nas mais diversas línguas, incluíndo o Diário de Notícias, em exclusivo para Portugal, e também, entre outros, o britânico Guardian, o alemão Die Welt e o espanhol El País.

Cidadãos da Europa, se tomo a liberdade de dirigir-me diretamente a vós, não é somente em nome da história e dos valores que nos unem. É porque a situação é de urgência. Dentro de algumas semanas, as eleições europeias serão decisivas para o futuro do nosso continente.

Nunca desde a Segunda Guerra mundial se afigurou tão necessária a Europa. No entanto, nunca a Europa esteve em situação tão perigosa.

O Brexit é o símbolo desse perigo. Símbolo da crise da Europa, que não soube responder às necessidades de proteção dos povos face aos grandes choques do mundo contemporâneo. Símbolo, também, da armadilha europeia. Não é a pertença à União europeia que é a armadilha; são a mentira e a irresponsabilidade que a podem destruir. Quem disse a verdade aos Britânicos sobre o seu futuro após o Brexit? Quem lhes falou da perda do acesso ao mercado europeu? Quem evocou os riscos para a paz na Irlanda com a reposição da fronteira do passado? O recuo nacionalista nada propõe; apenas rejeita, não projeta. E esta armadilha ameaça toda a Europa: os exploradores da ira, sustentados pelas falsas informações prometem mundos e fundos.

Face a essas manipulações, devemos manter-nos de pé. Orgulhosos e lúcidos. Dizer, antes de mais, o que é a Europa. É um sucesso histórico: a reconciliação de um continente devastado, num projeto inédito de paz, de prosperidade e de liberdade. Nunca o esqueçamos. E esse projeto continua a proteger-nos hoje: que país pode enfrentar, sozinho, as estratégias agressivas de grandes potências? Quem pode almejar ser soberano sozinho perante os gigantes do setor digital? Como resistiríamos às crises do capitalismo financeiro sem o euro, que é uma força para toda a União? A Europa significa também milhares de projetos do quotidiano que transformaram a face dos nossos territórios: este liceu renovado, aquela estrada construída, o acesso rápido à Internet a chegar, por fim. Este combate exige um compromisso a cada dia, pois a Europa e a paz não são dados adquiridos. Em nome da França, travo este combate sem descanso para fazer progredir a Europa e defender o seu modelo. Mostrámos que aquilo que era considerado inalcançável, a criação de uma defesa europeia ou a proteção dos direitos sociais, era possível.

Mas é preciso fazer mais, mais depressa. Pois existe a outra armadilha, a do status quo e da resignação. Perante os grandes choques do mundo, os cidadãos tantas vezes nos dizem: “Onde está a Europa? O que faz a Europa?”. Para eles, ela transformou-se num mercado sem alma. Ora, a Europa não é meramente um mercado, é um projeto. Um mercado é útil, mas não deve fazer esquecer a necessidade de fronteiras que protegem e de valores que unem. Os nacionalistas enganam-se quando afirmam defender a nossa identidade com o recuo da Europa, pois é a civilização europeia que nos reúne, que nos liberta e nos protege. Contudo, aqueles que não querem que nada mude também se enganam, pois negam os receios que os nossos povos sentem, as dúvidas que assolam as nossas democracias. Estamos a viver um momento decisivo para o nosso continente; um momento em que, coletivamente, devemos reinventar política e culturalmente as formas da nossa civilização num mundo em transformação. Chegou a hora do Renascimento europeu. Por isso, resistindo às tentações do recuo e das divisões, proponho-vos construirmos, juntos, este Renascimento em torno de três ambições: a liberdade, a proteção e o progresso.

Defender a nossa liberdade

O modelo europeu assenta na liberdade humana, na diversidade das opiniões, da criação. A nossa liberdade primeira é a liberdade democrática, a de escolher os nossos dirigentes apesar de potências estrangeiras procurarem, a cada eleição, influenciar os nossos votos. Proponho a criação de uma Agência europeia de proteção das democracias que providenciará peritos europeus para cada Estado membro para proteger o seu processo eleitoral contra os ciberataques e as manipulações. Neste espírito de independência, também devemos proibir o financiamento dos partidos políticos europeus por potências estrangeiras. Devemos banir da Internet, com regras europeias, todos os discursos de ódio e de violência, pois o respeito pelo indivíduo é o alicerce da nossa civilização de dignidade.

Proteger o nosso continente

Fundada com base na reconciliação interna, a União europeia esqueceu-se de olhar para as realidades do mundo. Nenhuma comunidade é capaz de suscitar um sentimento de pertença se não possuir limites que ela protege. A fronteira representa a liberdade com segurança. Logo, devemos repensar o espaço Schengen: todos os que querem ser parte desse espaço devem cumprir obrigações de responsabilidade (controlo rigoroso das fronteiras) e de solidariedade (a mesma política de asilo, com as mesmas regras de acolhimento e de recusa). Uma polícia de fronteiras comum e um serviço europeu de asilo, estritas obrigações de controlo, uma solidariedade europeia para a qual contribui cada país, sob a autoridade de um Conselho europeu de segurança interna: acredito, face às migrações, numa Europa que protege ao mesmo tempo os seus valores e as suas fronteiras.

As mesmas exigências devem aplicar-se à defesa. Foram realizados importantes progressos nos últimos dois anos, mas precisamos de um rumo claro: um tratado de defesa e de segurança deverá definir as nossas obrigações indispensáveis, em cooperação com a OTAN e os nossos aliados europeus: aumento das despesas militares, cláusula de defesa mútua operacionalizada, Conselho de segurança europeu associando o Reino Unido para preparar as nossas decisões coletivas.

As nossas fronteiras também devem garantir uma concorrência equitativa. Que potência no mundo aceita continuar as suas trocas com quem não respeita nenhuma das suas regras? Não podemos suportar sem nada dizer. Devemos reformar a nossa política de concorrência, repensar a nossa política comercial: punir ou proibir na Europa as empresas que prejudicam os nossos interesses estratégicos e os nossos valores essenciais, como as normas ambientais, a proteção dos dados e o justo pagamento do imposto; e assumir, nas indústrias estratégicas e nos nossos concursos públicos, uma preferência europeia, tal como o fazem os nossos concorrentes americanos ou chineses.

Resgatar o espírito de progresso

A Europa não é uma potência de segunda categoria. A Europa toda é uma vanguarda: sempre soube definir as normas do progresso. Por isso, ela deve propugnar um projeto de convergência mais do que de concorrência: a Europa, onde foi criada a segurança social, deve construir, para cada trabalhador, de Leste a Oeste e de Norte a Sul, um escudo socialque garanta a mesma remuneração no mesmo local de trabalho e um salário mínimo europeu, adaptado a cada país e discutido coletivamente a cada ano.

Resgatar o progresso significa também liderar o combate ecológico. Como poderemos encarar os nossos filhos se não reduzirmos também a nossa dívida climática? A União europeia deve determinar a sua ambição – 0 carbono em 2050, reduzir para metade os pesticidas em 2025 – e adaptar as suas políticas a essa exigência: um Banco europeu do clima para financiar a transição ecológica; uma força sanitária europeia para reforçar os controlos dos nossos alimentos; contra a ameaça dos lobbies, uma avaliação científica independente das substâncias perigosas para o ambiente e a saúde… Esse imperativo deve nortear toda a nossa ação; desde o Banco central até a Comissão europeia, desde o orçamento europeu até o plano de investimento para a Europa, todas as nossas instituições devem inserir o clima no âmago do seu mandato.

O progresso e a liberdade significam poder viver dos proventos do seu trabalho: para criar empregos, a Europa deve antecipar. Por isso é que ela deve, não só regulamentar os gigantes do setor digital, com a criação de uma supervisão europeia das grandes plataformas (sanções aceleradas em caso de violação da concorrência, transparência dos seus algoritmos…), mas também financiar a inovação dotando o novo Conselho europeu da inovação com um orçamento comparável ao dos Estados Unidos, para conduzir as novas ruturas tecnológicas, como a inteligência artificial.

Uma Europa que se projeta no mundo deve estar voltada para África, com a qual devemos formar um pacto de futuro. Assumindo um destino comum, apoiando o seu desenvolvimento de maneira ambiciosa e não defensiva: investimento, parcerias universitárias, educação das raparigas…

Liberdade, proteção, progresso. Devemos construir sobre esses alicerces um Renascimento europeu. Não podemos deixar os nacionalistas sem solução explorar a ira dos povos. Não podemos ser os sonâmbulos de uma Europa amolecida. Não podemos permanecer na rotina e nas proclamações. O humanismo europeu é uma exigência de ação. E por toda parte os cidadãos exigem participar na mudança. Até ao fim do ano, com os representantes das instituições europeias e dos Estados, organizemos uma Conferência para a Europa a fim de propor todas as mudanças necessárias para o nosso projeto político, sem tabu, nem mesmo a revisão dos tratados. Esta Conferência deverá associar painéis de cidadãos, auscultar os académicos, os parceiros sociais, os representantes religiosos e espirituais. Definirá um roteiro para a União europeia traduzindo em ações concretas essas grandes prioridades. Haverá divergências, mas será melhor uma Europa parada ou uma Europa que progride por vezes em ritmos diferentes, mas permanecendo aberta a todos?

Nesta Europa, os povos reassumirão verdadeiramente o controlo do seu destino; nesta Europa, o Reino Unido, tenho a certeza, encontrará o seu devido lugar.

Cidadãos da Europa, o impasse do Brexit é uma lição para todos. Devemos sair dessa armadilha e dar um sentido às eleições vindouras e ao nosso projeto. Cabe-vos, a vós, decidirem se a Europa, os seus valores de progresso, devem ser mais do que um parêntese na história. Eis a escolha que vos proponho, para traçarmos juntos o caminho rumo a um Renascimento europeu.

(EUobserver) France to ban far-right groups over antisemitism

(EUobserver)

French president Emmanuel Macron has said France would ban three far-right groups – Bastion Social, Blood and Honour Hexagone, and Combat 18 – and adopt a tougher definition of antisemitism in reaction to a spike in hate crimes, such as recent vandalism of Jewish graves. “Europe, and most Western democracies, seem to be facing a resurgence of antisemitism unseen since World War II,” Macron said.

(Algemeiner) ‘Ça Suffit!’: Thousands Demonstrate in Paris and Across France Against Surging Antisemitism

(Algemeiner)

Demonstrators gather for the rally against antisemitism in the Place de la Republique in Paris. Photo: Reuters / Philippe Wojazer.

More than 20,000 demonstrators filled the Place de la Republique in Paris on Tuesday night in response to a nationwide call for mass rallies against the continuing surge of antisemitism in France.

The show of solidarity with French Jews in the capital was replicated across the country, with rallies against antisemitism being held in more than 60 cities and towns, including Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse and Strasbourg — the city in eastern France near which only on Tuesday morning dozens of graves in a Jewish cemetery were found defaced with swastikas and antisemitic slogans.

The vandalism at the cemetery came following a week of high-profile antisemitic incidents, including the daubing of a Jewish-owned bakery with the slogan “Juden!” and the abuse hurled at the French-Jewish intellectual Alain Finkielkraut last weekend by protesters affiliated with the populist “yellow vest” movement.

Under the floodlit statue of Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic, the demonstrators who gathered at dusk in Paris held signs declaring “Ça suffit!” (“That’s enough!”), as well as the greeting “Shalom, Salaam, Salut.” Many of the signs at the rally highlighted the figure “74%” — the total increase in the number of antisemitic outrages recorded in France during 2018.

At the podium, children from schools in the local district read out speeches against antisemitism, some of them recalling the mass deportation of the Jews of Paris by the Nazis in July 1942.

French rap artist Abd al Malik closed the rally, leading the crowd in a chorus of “La Marseillaise,” the national anthem.

Initiated by the opposition Socialist Party, Tuesday’s rallies against antisemitism were backed by 14 political parties from the far left to the center-right. Political leaders attending the demonstration in Paris included Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and 14 other members of the French cabinet, including Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer and Higher Education Minister Frédérique Vidal.

Minutes before the rally against antisemitism commenced, French President Emmanuel Macron paid a separate visit to the Holocaust memorial in Paris. After laying a memorial wreath, Macron praised the nearby rally without taking further questions from assembled reporters. On Wednesday night, Macron is scheduled to deliver a much-anticipated speech at the annual dinner of CRIF, the French Jewish communal organization.

On arriving at the Holocaust memorial, Macron — who earlier in the day had visited the vandalized Jewish cemetery in Quatzenheim — was accosted by a woman who implored him, “Mr. President, I’m French, Jewish, I need to talk to you! I beg you!” Aides in Macron’s office told newspaper Le Figaro that the president engaged in a short conversation with the woman, but did not share details of their discussion.

Tuesday’s rallies around France followed a debate in the French National Assembly around a new legislative proposal to criminalize anti-Zionism — understood as the call for the elimination of the State of Israel —  as a form of antisemitism.

Speaking in favor of the motion, French Jewish lawmaker Meyer Habib expressed his fear that the current wave of antisemitism would force Jews to leave the country in large numbers.

Asked during his cemetery visit on Tuesday for his view on the National Assembly debate, President Macron said he opposed making anti-Zionism a criminal offense.

“I do not feel that penalizing anti-Zionism is a good solution,” Macron said. “I do believe that those who want Israel to disappear also want to target Jews, but when you examine the issue of outlawing anti-Zionism, you realize this would cause a number of problems.”

While turnout at Tuesday’s rallies did not exceed the numbers at similar previous events — several thousand marched against antisemitism in 2012 following the terrorist attack at a Jewish school in Toulouse, and did so again last year, following the brutal murder of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll — French-language social media feeds carried extensive photos and videos of the gatherings in Paris and elsewhere.

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L’Echiquier social@EchiquierSocial

Place de la République : 19h47 #CaSuffit #JeDisNon Rassemblement contre l’antisémitisme7:09 PM – Feb 19, 2019See L’Echiquier social’s other TweetsTwitter Ads info and privacy

Bernard-Henri Lévy@BHL

Ce n’est pas aux #Juifs de se défendre, c’est à la #République, dit #Macron au cimetière juif de #Quatzenheim au lendemain de la profanation. La réaction est rapide. Les mots sont justes et beaux. La France est debout et l’#antisémitisme demeure la honte de notre nation.1,1564:57 PM – Feb 19, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy491 people are talking about this

Aurélie Sarrot@aureliesarrot · 19hReplying to @aureliesarrot

« Touche pas à mon pote », « salam shalom salut » et #Giletsjaunes place de la République #manif #Paris

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Aurélie Sarrot@aureliesarrot

Mathilde, 22 ans, militante @SOS_Racisme , intervient dans les collèges et lycées contre le racisme et L’antisemitisme. Elle est place de la #Republique #Paris ce soir pour la #manif pic.twitter.com/TeKUGQiF8o265:35 PM – Feb 19, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

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France 3 Rhône-Alpes@F3Rhone_Alpes

A #Lyon, plusieurs centaines de personnes sont massées place Bellecour pour protester contre toutes formes d’antisémitisme. (Photos D. Pajonk)226:12 PM – Feb 19, 2019See France 3 Rhône-Alpes’s other Tweets

(EUobserver) France summons Italian ambassador over colonial remark

(EUobserver)

The Italian ambassador to France was summoned Monday to explain comments by Italian deputy PM Luigi Di Maio. The leader of the Five Star Movement blamed French policy on colonial-era French African currencies for holding back development. “If people are leaving today it’s because European countries, France above all, have never stopped colonising dozens of African countries,” said Di Maio. French diplomatic sources called it “hostile and without cause”.

(Politico) Santa Macron blows hole in budget

(Politico) Concessions to buy off protesters set to breach EU deficit limits.

 

The political cost to Macron’s authority and European standing are already high | Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

 

PARIS — Santa Claus came early for millions of French people on Monday.

But President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to buy off a nationwide protest movement with handouts for low-paid workers and retirees is likely to come at a cost — inflating the budget deficit, pushing the national debt over 100 percent of gross domestic product and reneging on EU commitments to fiscal discipline.

After a month of a sometimes violent revolt by Yellow Jacket protesters against fuel tax hikes and the cost of living, Macron announced an immediate €100 a month increase in the minimum wage without extra cost to employers, the removal of social charges and income tax on overtime payments, and the scrapping of a tax rise on poorer pensioners.

The young president admitted in a televised address to the nation that he had underestimated public anger, failed to grasp the distress of families and the elderly struggling to make ends meet, and offended people with arrogant or offhand remarks.

“I accept my share of responsibility. I may have given you the feeling that I didn’t care, that I had other priorities,” a chastened Macron told prime-time viewers.

The political cost to Macron’s authority and European standing are already high | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

He gave no clue as to how he would finance the concessions, which together with last week’s scrapping of contentious planned tax hikes on gasoline and diesel could lead to at least €10 billion in lost revenue and an extra cost to the 2019 budget — roughly 0.5 percent of GDP.

The president refused to go back on his unpopular 2017 decision to scrap a wealth tax on the rich, which yielded €4 billion but was hated by investors who cited it as a barrier to creating jobs. But he said he would meet investors and business leaders in the coming days to see how they could contribute more to the economy.

Activists from the leaderless Yellow Jackets movement, which has spread like wildfire via social media, acknowledged first steps had been taken to meet their demands but many said Macron’s response was inadequate and vowed to keep up their roadblocks.

However, the government is hoping a combination of targeted measures, protest fatigue, revulsion at violence and looting, and the onset of the Christmas holidays will snuff out the protests before the end of the month.

Italy’s populist leaders, who have openly defied Brussels with a rule-busting increased budget deficit for 2019, must be laughing.

The political cost to Macron’s authority and European standing are already high.

The pro-European president pledged when he was elected in May 2017 to finally respect France’s EU commitments on budget discipline, saying this was vital both to restoring public finances and to rebuilding trust, notably in key partner Germany.

But while increased growth and tax measures brought the deficit below the EU’s 3 percent ceiling last year for the first time in almost a decade, the centrist government has so far failed to cut public spending, which at 57 percent of GDP is among the highest in Europe.

The European Commission has already voiced concern about the feasibility of Paris’ plans to shave the deficit to 2.8 percent of GDP next year. That modest reduction now looks unattainable, not only because of Macron’s latest giveaways but also because the economic disruption of a month of protests is set to reduce growth this year and make next year’s 1.7 percent growth target, on which the budget is based, hard to achieve.

Italy’s populist leaders, who have openly defied Brussels with a rule-busting increased budget deficit for 2019, must be laughing.

Yellow Jacket protestors take notes as they watch French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech on December 10 | Guillaume Souvant/AFP via Getty Images

Although Rome, which is facing an EU excessive debt procedure, is a separate case and of greater concern to financial markets, Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said the Commission was watching France’s situation closely.

The Bank of France halved its growth forecast for the final quarter of 2018 on Monday to 0.2 percent from 0.4 percent. Retailers said supermarket sales were 15 percent to 20 percent below normal for the fourth straight Saturday due to the blockades and fears of violence.

While the president did not say how he planned to achieve the promised €100 increase in the minimum wage, which affects 1.6 million people directly and 11 million through knock-on effects, an increase in a state-funded income supplement known as the “activity premium” seems the most likely way to avoid extra cost for employers.

French presidents for the last 25 years have been forced to retreat from economic and education reforms by street protests. Macron’s predecessors Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande retreated into immobility after bruising outbursts of public anger.

Despite his determination to be different, and his youthful energy, Macron started down the same road on Monday. Whether he can restore his authority and revive his reform agenda looks far from certain.

(LeMonde) Les « gilets jaunes » vus de Moscou : une « révolution de couleur » fomentée par les Etats-Unis

(LeMonde) Selon Dmitri Kisselev, présentateur vedette de la chaîne russe Rossiya 1, il semblerait que, tout comme lors de la « révolution orange » en Ukraine, les Américains sont à la manœuvre en France.

Manifestation des « gilets jaunes », place de l’Etoile, à Paris, le 1er décembre.
Manifestation des « gilets jaunes », place de l’Etoile, à Paris, le 1er décembre. Julien Muguet pour « Le Monde »

Comme partout, la sidération l’emporte en Russie après les violentes émeutes survenues le 1er décembre à Paris lors de la nouvelle manifestation de colère des « gilets jaunes ». Mais Dmitri Kisselev a son interprétation : le jaune est une couleur, les événements mettent en péril le pouvoir, donc, c’est une « révolution de couleur », orchestrée en sous-main, comme toutes les autres avant elles – notamment la « révolution orange » en Ukraine –, par les Etats-Unis.

Lire aussi  « Gilets jaunes » : le point sur les blocages et les concertations en cours

Dimanche 2 décembre au soir, sur la chaîne publique Rossiya 1, le directeur de la chaîne et présentateur vedette de l’émission « Vesti » (nouvelles) – la préférée, dit-on, de Vladimir Poutine – a avancé cet argument imparable à ses yeux pour décrire la situation en France : « Cela ressemble à l’exportation américaine d’une révolution de couleur, et tout cela parce que le président Macron a parlé de la nécessité d’une armée européenne. »

Car sinon, a développé le présentateur devant un fond écran sur lequel s’inscrivaient en grosses lettres les mots « révolte exportée ? », comment expliquer qu’une « microscopique augmentation du prix de l’essence provoque dans la rue des scènes de pillage, la mobilisation d’une armée de policiers, de la fumée, des tirs, du sang, des nuages de gaz lacrymogène, des éclats de verre partout ? » Non, non, « le prétexte est disproportionné », assure Dmitri Kisselev, qui s’est renseigné. Certes, « le prix de l’essence est deux fois plus cher en France qu’en Russie », mais il est encore plus élevé en Grèce ou aux Pays-Bas.

Et puis comment croire cet enchaînement improbable : une coordination de protestation sur les réseaux sociaux avec des vidéos « réalisées soi-disant par de simples Français », et l’apparition de surcroît d’un « nom aussi accrocheur » que celui de « gilets jaunes » ? « Vraiment, enchaîne le présentateur, les Etats-Unis peuvent-ils tolérer une alternative à l’OTAN en Europe ? Pensez ce que vous voulez, mais la première vague des émeutes liées au prix du carburant a balayé la France une semaine seulement après la déclaration de Macron sur la nécessité de créer une armée européenne. » Les images de l’Arc de triomphe et de l’avenue des Champs-Elysées dévastés ont suivi l’exposé.

Connu pour ses outrances

Dmitri Kissilev n’est pas tout à fait un présentateur comme les autres. Connu pour ses outrances, inscrit sur la liste européenne des personnalités russes placées sous sanctions, il est aussi et surtout le patron de Rossia Sevognia, la maison mère de la chaîne de télévision RT et le site Sputnik, les deux médias implantés dans le monde entier pour exporter la voix du Kremlin. Mais dimanche, la leçon s’adressait d’abord aux Russes : révoltez-vous et vous aurez le chaos.

Depuis 2014 et le soulèvement ukrainien sur la place Maïdan, Vladimir Poutine n’a cessé de marteler ce même message : les Etats-Unis sont derrière chaque révolte. « Ils ont commencé à soutenir à toute force les révolutions de couleur, y compris le prétendu printemps arabe et à quoi cela mène-t-il ? Au chaos », répétait encore le chef du Kremlin lors du forum économique de Saint-Pétersbourg en juin 2016.

On notera tout de même aussi cette contradiction parmi les sources influentes en Russie. Dans un tweet envoyé à la veille des rassemblements du 1er décembre en France, Alexandre Douguine, un intellectuel proche des milieux d’extrême droite qui a inspiré le virage eurasien et antioccidental du président russe, écrivait : « Je suis “gilet jaune”. » En français dans le texte.

(EurActiv) A double failure for France in creating European taxes

(EurActiv)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron arrive for a press conference following a visit at the Humboldt Forum construction site in Berlin, Germany, 19 April 2018.

France has failed to unblock EU tax proposals on financial and digital transactions, two measures for fiscal justice that Paris has attempted to push for a long time at European level. EURACTIV France reports.

The outcome of meetings between Eurozone and EU finance ministers held earlier this week (3 and 4 December) disappointed Paris, which had hoped to make progress in creating these European taxes.

Paris and Berlin jointly brought compromises on two key measures of European tax reform: the tax on financial transactions, and a digital tax.

The two taxes, presented as tools of fiscal justice, have been under discussion for several years. However, no compromise has been reached between EU capitals, despite strong public support in favour of such measures.

Financial Transaction Tax (FTT)

The Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) is the oldest of the two. It has been discussed by a group of EU 10 countries under a so-called “enhanced cooperation” mechanism since it was put on the table by the European Commission, in 2011.

On Monday (3 December), France and Germany presented a compromise proposal that would see the existing French FTT extended to other countries. The proposal will be discussed again in January.

Germany and France will outline on Monday a joint proposal for a financial transaction tax for the European Union that is based on a model already tested in France, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported late on Sunday (2 December).

At the end of the meeting, the ministers said they were ready to resume work on the basis of the French model. They also stated their intention to allocate funds to the Eurozone budget, which countries do not want to fund by an additional national contribution.

This will bring the debate to the level of the Eurogroup, which brings together the 19 member states of the eurozone. In the past, some of these countries have been openly hostile to the FTT, such as the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the Republic of Ireland.

“The tax option on the table is a discount version, with a reduced base, and revenues allocated to the European budget, rather than 100% of the revenues going to climate mitigation and international solidarity,” regretted Robin Guittard from Oxfam France.

“In these times of social and taxation protests, our leaders have to be listening,” Guittard said, adding the FTT was a measure for fiscal justice that is very popular with European citizens. “We need to reach an agreement at the beginning of 2019 and not settle for the initial excitement at announcements about the umpteenth relaunch of the process,” Guittard said.

Digital tax

The other awaited tax, the one on digital matters, was also undermined by European ministers. Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of Economy and Finance, arrived with a hard-fought compromise with Germany, which is more cautious than Paris on the issue of taxing digital giants.

France and Germany sought on Monday (3 December) to salvage a proposed EU tax on big digital firms by narrowing the focus to cover only companies’ online advertising revenue, a European source said.

Consequently, rather than taxing the digital giants’ turnover at 3%, the Franco-German partnership has proposed that the tax will only concern digital platforms’ advertising turnover. This model would notably spare Amazon and Apple, but would focus more on Facebook and Google.

Another of the proposal’s concessions is that this tax would only be implemented if the negotiations at the OECD level for taxing the digital sector by 2021 are unsuccessful.

Despite this watered-down version of the digital tax, the ministers did not reach an agreement and intend to reconsider the Franco-German compromise at a later stage, depending on advances made by the OECD.

“Whereas European governments had committed to making concrete progress on the issue of the GAFA [Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon] companies, the compromise proposed by France and Germany is a superficial agreement to save face,” regretted Quentin Parrinello of Oxfam France.

“It completely empties the tax of its substance and will enable a large number of businesses in the digital sector to continue to evade taxes in countries where they are, however, making record turnovers,” he added.

France and Germany presented on Tuesday (4 December) revised plans for the EU’s proposed digital tax reforms under which large firms would pay a levy only on advertising sales and not on total revenues, representing a significant reduction of the Commission’s original scope.

The French European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, Pierre Moscovici also regretted the lack of agreement on taxing the digital sector.

“Tax on digital giants: no agreement at #ECOFIN but I’m not giving up. Fiscal injustice is still here and has to be rectified. The EU’s demand is still here and has to be met. Let’s keep discussing and find an agreement by March! #FairTaxation,” Moscovici tweeted.

Pierre Moscovici

@pierremoscovici

Taxe sur les géants du numérique: pas d’accord à l’ mais je ne baisse pas les bras. L’injustice fiscale est toujours là et doit être corrigée. La demande des 🇪🇺est toujours là et doit être satisfaite. Continuons de discuter et trouvons un accord d’ici mars!

73 people are talking about this

The European inability to move forward on fiscal matters is notably due to the fact that these decisions are subject to unanimity. This is a restraint which almost systematically blocks all drives for reform.

One of the solutions could be moving to qualified-majority voting, believed Moscovici. “I would like to put my foot in the door of unanimity. There are topics where unanimity is neither desirable nor defendable,” he explained.

But such a change would have to be voted unanimously by member states, which makes its adoption as uncertain as the tax reforms currently dividing the member states.

(OBS) Três erros sobre a França dos coletes amarelos – Rui Ramos

(OBS) Os apelos do costume já não funcionam: nem o medo do “caos”, com que Macron tentou assustar os franceses; nem o medo do “fascismo”, com que as esquerdas se habituaram a inibir as direitas. E agora?

Em França, a revolução sai à rua; em Espanha, entrou, por enquanto, num parlamento regional. Os apelos do costume já não funcionam: nem o medo do “caos”, com que o presidente Macron tenta assustar os franceses; nem o medo do “fascismo”, com que as esquerdas até hoje se habituaram a inibir as direitas. Em Espanha, vamos talvez descobrir que “geringonças” há muitas; em França, que quando o poder se propõe pôr os cidadãos “em marcha”, os cidadãos às vezes marcham mesmo, mas não necessariamente segundo a vontade do poder.

Há três erros que podemos cometer em relação aos “coletes amarelos”. O primeiro é contemplar tudo como um problema simplesmente francês. Não é. A União Europeia é uma aliança franco-alemã. Para que possa haver UE, é necessário que a Alemanha e a França funcionem.  Há quinze anos, a Alemanha reformou-se para competir nos mercados globais. Não resolveu todos os seus problemas, mas resolveu alguns: tem excedentes e emprego. A França, pelo contrário, não fez reformas. É o país dos défices e do desemprego. A questão é saber se a Alemanha, onde a validade de Merkel expirou entretanto, está disposta a ser o Atlas que carrega o vizinho aos ombros. Nas ruas francesas, joga-se o destino da UE.

O segundo erro é pensar que se trata apenas do fracasso de Emmanuel Macron. Não é. Porque antes de um fracasso de Macron, ainda por confirmar, estão os fracassos já confirmados da direita gaullista, com Nicolas Sarkozy, e da esquerda socialista, com François Hollande. Desde os anos 90, qualquer reforma em França serviu apenas para os governos serem humilhados por protestos e motins. Daí a lenda do “país irreformável”. Entretanto, os grandes partidos de governo da V República, que já só sobreviviam chantageando o eleitorado com a ameaça dos Le Pen (ou nós, ou o “fascismo”), desapareceram. Em seu lugar, as elites aglomeraram-se à volta de um jovem que era suposto fazer as reformas sem o empecilho da velha dicotomia esquerda-direita. Um colapso do “macronismo” dificilmente significaria o regresso ao anterior sistema partidário. Comecem, à cautela, a imaginar o inimaginável.

O terceiro erro está na nossa economia de esforço interpretativo. Para explicar os coletes amarelos, preferiu-se em geral traduzir os contrastes americanos que, há dois anos, serviram para dar conta de Trump: os “deploráveis” contra as elites, o campo contra as  cidades, a tasca contra o Starbucks, o nativismo contra o cosmopolitismo, etc. Não digo que não haja alguma coisa disso, mas vale a pena desconfiar de qualquer análise que acabe em recomendações natalícias de “compreensão mútua”. O risco, neste caso, é perder de vista o que, numa revolta contra o preço dos combustíveis, é o problema: uma crise fiscal. Na década de 1990, já eram óbvios os desequilíbrios dos regimes sociais europeus. Mas acreditou-se que a “globalização” (que outros achavam ser o problema) poderia resolver a dificuldade, através da criação de riqueza nos mercados globais. Acontece que no caso francês (e em outros), esses mesmos desequilíbrios limitam a competitividade do país. A França enfrenta assim um paradoxo que Portugal e a Europa do sul conhecem bem: quanto menos dinâmica é a economia, mais castigada é a sociedade por impostos, porque os governos precisam de compensar as clientelas, e não há outra via senão o fisco e a dívida. Eis como duram os Estados europeus, navegando entre duas revoltas possíveis: a dos contribuintes e a dos dependentes.

Finalmente, poupemo-nos às analogias ignorantes com os anos 30. Estamos a passar pelo que parece ser o fim de uma época. O pior que podíamos fazer era olhar com os olhos de ontem.

(GUA) French government ‘to suspend fuel tax increase’

(GUA) Reports say the PM, Édouard Philippe, will announce suspension following protests

‘Gilets jaunes’ protesters block the road leading to the Frontignan oil depot in the south of France on Monday.
 ‘Gilets jaunes’ protesters block the road leading to the Frontignan oil depot in the south of France on Monday. Photograph: Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images

The French government will announce it is suspending plans to introduce an eco-fuel tax after three weeks of increasingly violent protests, according to reports in French media.

The prime minister, Édouard Philippe, was due to meet cabinet ministers on Tuesday morning to agree a response to a weekend of rioting, looting and destruction in Paris by an extreme fringe of the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement.

The tax on petrol and diesel, due to increase next month in a move towards cleaner fuels, sparked national demonstrations that quickly grew to encompass wider anger and frustration at the country’s leaders.

President Emmanuel Macron had repeatedly vowed not to give in to street rule, but has been forced to reconsider after the worst violence in Paris in half a century.

Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday that Philippe would declare the fuel tax rises were being suspended during a meeting of MPs from the ruling La République En Marche (LREM). The PM met leaders of France’s main political parties on Monday.

On Monday evening, Macron held an emergency meeting at the Élysée Palace to deal with the political and social crisis, the most serious since he was elected on a centrist, reforming programme in May 2017.

Stanislas Guerini, the leader of the LREM parliamentary group, told French radio: “While there’s a debate, we stop writing, have a pause … there has to be a pause so the debate can happen.”

Philippe was due to meet representatives from the gilets jaunes on Tuesday afternoon, but the meeting was cancelled after the unofficial representatives were allegedly threatened and disowned by other protesters.

The protest movement, which has no organisation or leaders, has broadened its demands to include Macron’s resignation and the dissolution of the French parliament.

Macron has postponed a two-day visit to Serbia this week to deal with the crisis. On Saturday, police fought running battles with masked protesters who painted graffiti on the Arc de Triomphe, pulled down iron railings at the Tuileries Gardens, torched cars, set fire to buildings and looted luxury stores.

Three hundred and seventy-eight people were arrested; police said many were older males – aged between 30 and 40 – from outside the French capital who had come intending to fight police.

(BBC) Benin artworks: France to return thrones and statues

(BBC)

Three Great Royal Statues of ancient Dahomey (currently Benin, West Africa) are displayed at the Quai Branly Museum-Jacques Chirac in ParisImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionA report commissioned by the French president recommends that disputed artworks should be returned to their countries of origin

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that France will return 26 artworks taken from the west African state of Benin in the colonial era.

His announcement follows an experts’ report recommending that African treasures in French museums be returned to their countries of origin.

The 26 thrones and statues were taken in 1892 during a colonial war against the then Kingdom of Dahomey.

They are currently on display in the Quai Branly museum in Paris.

Benin officially asked for their return some years ago. President Macron said the statues would be returned “without delay”.

His office said the return of art to Benin should not be an isolated case.

The president “hopes that all possible circulation of these works is considered: returns but also exhibitions, loans, further cooperation”, the Elysee palace said.

A panel of experts, commissioned by the president to study the issue of African artworks in French museums, presented their findings to him on Friday.

Ousmane Aledji, director of the Benin cultural centre Artisttik Africa, told the AFP news agency he was pleased to see “a new form of cultural exchange” with France.

During colonial rule in Africa, thousands of cultural artefacts were seized from the continent by Western countries.

The official report states that most of the Africa collection in the Quai Branly museum – approximately 46,000 pieces – was acquired with some degree of duress.

France’s announcement comes as major museums across Europe have agreed to lend key artefacts back to Nigeria.

(BBG) France and Germany Said to Warn EU Not to Let U.K. Claim Victory

(BBG) Germany and France have privately warned the European Union to do more to prevent the U.K. from being able to claim victory in Brexit talks, according to EU diplomats.

In meetings over recent days, the EU’s most powerful governments expressed fears the bloc is giving too much away in the charge to get a deal. Confronting populist anti-EU forces across Europe, leaders want one last opportunity to show that leaving the bloc can’t be as advantageous as staying in, and some have called for stringent conditions to restrict the British economy, according to diplomats present in the talks.

As U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May prepares a flying visit to Brussels to meet EU chiefs this week, negotiators are finalizing a document that will form the basis of the two sides’ future relationship. The text, which falls a long way short of a full trade deal that some pro-Brexit ministers in the government once promised would be ready by now, is due to approved at a summit on Sunday.

EU officials said they are braced for a week of intense diplomacy between London, Brussels, Paris and Berlin. One of the concerns raised by diplomats from Germany was that May shouldn’t be able to get her so-called Chequers plan accepted “through the backdoor.” Earlier this year, the EU rejected the economic proposals of the plan because they didn’t do enough to stop the U.K. having a competitive advantage.

Brexit Consequences

France is leading a group of countries pushing the EU to include a string of conditions as part of agreements on future ties. France’s ambassador told the European Commission in a meeting on Sunday that the EU needs to reiterate that “Brexit should have consequences.”

“We do not want to reopen the agreement but we will be very vigilant about its implementation,” French European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau told reporters in Brussels. “We will be very attentive to the political declaration on the future relationship, on the issues of fair competition.”

One of France’s key demands is that the U.K. commit itself to sticking to the EU’s tough environment standards, even if the EU makes them stricter after Brexit. It also wants Britain to sign up to so-called level playing field restrictions in areas of labor law, state aid and taxation as well as a pledge to allow European fishing vessels access to British waters.

Conditions Attached

Other countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark, are making their own demands. While they’ll back plans to offer the U.K. an “ambitious” free-trade deal, they’ve warned that the deeper it is, the more conditions could be attached. They’ve suggested that conditions to ensure that Britain can’t undercut the European economy could also cover services, according to one diplomat.

In the meetings with governments, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, cautioned against piling more conditions onto the U.K. for fear that it would open the way for Britain to push to reopen the divorce treaty that both sides declared done last week, according to the diplomats.

(ZH) Trump Mocks Macron: “They Were Starting To Learn German In Paris Before The US Came Along”

(ZHUpdate (8:50 am ET): The tweets appear to have stopped…for now, at least. Meanwhile, Macron’s office has refused to comment on Trump’s claims.

  • OFFICE OF FRENCH PRESIDENT MACRON SAYS IT REFUSES TO MAKE ANY COMMENT REGARDING TRUMP’S TWEETS CRITICISING FRANCE AND MACRON

* * *

Update III (8:35 am ET): Without directly referencing the rumors, Trump has branded reports that he refused to appear at a cemetery for American soldiers because he didn’t want to get his hair wet as “fake news.” In the tweet, Trump insisted that he wanted the Secret Service to drive him to the speech instead of taking a helicopter, but they refused because of security concerns. He added that he gave a speech at the cemetery the next day in the pouring rain – something that was “little reported”.

* * *

Update II (8:20 am ET): Trump’s rampage against Macron continues. The president slammed his French counterpart for his low approval rating, as well as France’s high unemployment. Furthermore, in response to Macron’s “nationalist” snub, Trump pointed out that “there is no more nationalist country” than France…

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%. He was just trying to get onto another subject. By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people-and rightfully so!……..

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…before adding a spin on his classic slogan.

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Update (8:10 am ET): Trump’s rage against Macron continues, but this time, the topic is slightly more serious. What could be more serious than questioning the foundation of Post-WWII military alliances, you might ask? The answer is simple – trade!

Trump conceded that while France makes “very good wine” (an interesting claim from Trump, who doesn’t drink), the country “makes it hard for the US to sell its wine into France, and charges very big tariffs”. Meanwhile “The US makes it easy for French wines and charges small tariffs.”

“Not Fair, must change!”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

On Trade, France makes excellent wine, but so does the U.S. The problem is that France makes it very hard for the U.S. to sell its wines into France, and charges big Tariffs, whereas the U.S. makes it easy for French wines, and charges very small Tariffs. Not fair, must change!

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We now await Trump’s order of an investigation into the national security implications of imported French wine.

* * *

President Trump isn’t ready to forgive the “French diss” served up over the weekend by President Emmanuel Macron.

French

During a ceremony honoring the 100th anniversary of World War I at the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron insulted Trump to his face by launching into a screed about the dangers of toxic “nationalism” and subtly accusing the US of abandoning its “moral values”.

This did not sit well with the US president, who was already facing criticism over his decision to show up late to a ceremony honoring the war dead (the administration blamed it on security concerns though it’s widely suspected that Trump didn’t want to get his hair wet), and Trump has let his displeasure be known in a series of tweets ridiculing Macron’s suggestion that Europe build its own army, saying that France and other European members of NATO would be better served by paying their fair share for NATO while daring them to leave and pay for their own protection.

And in his most abrasive tweet yet mocking the increasingly unpopular Macron’s imperial ambitions (no, really), Trump pointed out that, historically speaking, Europe has been its own worst enemy, and that while Macron wants to defend the Continent from the US, China and Russia, “it was Germany in WWI & WWII,” adding that “they were starting to learn German in Paris before the US came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!

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Of course, Macron isn’t the only French official calling for the creation of a “European army”. The country’s finance minister advocated for the creation of a Continental army during an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt – a comment that was derided by the paper’s editors, who pointed out that Germans “weren’t very supportive” of the idea. One wonders why…