Criticism has been raised in France against several reform proposals which President Macron wishes to implement in his country‘s labour- and social legislation.

GD/AD – 11/2017

The public mood critical of the new president has for the first time – and in staunch contrast to German media reports dealing with him or his policies – reached his own party LREM which had been so successful during the last election. Now "values" as well as "personalities" are in the focus with not just a few critics deploring being part perhaps of the grand agenda, albeit only at this very general level. Details of social legislative changes, however, would only be formulated within a secluded inner circle of an élite, mostly composed of people close to Macron. 

LREM or the republic on the march, is basically a top-down, some say even a top-heavy institution. Even while there now is some kind of a party programme, the latter is said to be little more than a collection of presidential ideas, strategies and convictions, making the movement look more like a supportive structure for the front-man than a traditional political party. As such it would have to be based on an elaborate system of values, principles and experience, allowing a wider range of functionaries to make inputs of value or even binding those at the top to represent party convictions instead of just personal preferences. The entire debate of his plans to implement changes e.g in Labour Law or social legislation, quite vitriolic as it has been and still is, would illustrate the degree of top-down steering and aloofness from grass-root politics.  

Populism instead of problem analysis

Jean Luc Mélenchon, a left wing radical and quasi the only visibly remaining politician of the opposition, is currently making use of the factual vacuum in French politics with his party LFI "unbending France". Mélenchon, a classic demagogue takes recourse to old-time anti-German phrases, especially when trying to present France‘s inherent and self-inflicted economic weaknesses as the "evil result" of German budgetary politics within the Eurozone and her nationaleconomic success. His pamphlet "Le hareng de Bismarck – le poison allemand" or "The Bismarck herring – the German poison" is something of a pun playing with the similarities between French "poisson" for "fish" and "poison" for "venom". The elaborate abounds in personal insults against Germany in general and the person of Chancellor Merkel in particular.  

Critics note, how quickly such a strategy, employing the tactical fall-back to vulgar nationalist rhetoric garnished with events from history and disguised as a progressive demand for more social equity, may be instrumentalised after decades of EU "togetherness" in the year 2017.