Le Figaro: Foreign media give their assessment of the protests in France

15.02.2023, Paris.

On the eve of a new day of mass protests against pension reform in France, the foreign media decided to express their attitude to what is happening in this country, the French newspaper Le Figaro wrote on February 15.

Protests against raising the retirement age to 64 years have been going on in France for over a month. Depending on who estimated the number of participants, the government or trade unions, on the days of mass demonstrations the number of protesters ranged from 1 to 2 million people. The international media have had ample time to assess the events and express their attitude to them, sometimes instructive, as noted by

Journalists on the other side of the Atlantic were especially caustic. In its editorial, the American newspaper New York Times saw in the French events a repetition of all earlier protest actions or a “deja vu” effect. And so it asked the direct question, “Are French People Just lazy?” And, on the other hand, Americans denounced the deeply rooted notion in the minds of the French that working life is hard work and retirement is liberation.

At the same time, in the United Kingdom, according to the British broadcaster BBC, ongoing strikes in transport, hospitals, and fuel depots would be the worst-case scenario for the French government. This, according to the British, would permanently immobilize France. Their colleagues at the British Daily Telegraph made a harsher judgment. The conservative daily called the strike a “national sport” in France.

In Spain, the daily El Pais called the recent demonstrations a “warning” to the president of the French Republic. According to the Spanish newspaper, the rejection of the bill was broad and open. And the protest marches were also attended by young people and retirees, mostly leftist voters, in addition to union members, as the Spanish media claimed. These were middle-class people who feared for themselves and their children, facing a less comfortable future. They saw their current president as responsible for the destruction of the welfare state, as the Spanish daily noted.

In contrast, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera decided to be neutral. In its opinion, after the “yellow vests” movement that put French President Emmanuel Macron’s first term in office to the test, the pension reform was a new political test for him in difficult economic and social conditions.

As for the Belgian newspaper Le Soir, from its point of view, the executive branch, no matter what, still wants to believe that it can stand up to the street. But history has always been replete with episodes in which the government was forced to capitulate under the pressure of a social movement. So the Belgian newspaper is not surprised if the French government is forced to surrender through a direct and brutal blockade.

Finally, for the Geneva Tribune, everything resembled a tango for three: in the street, in parliament and the government. For the protesters, according to the newspaper, there was only one solution: Macron’s resignation. But for Emmanuel Macron, abandoning his project would have been a profound defeat that would have seriously undermined his credibility. According to the Tribune, the next few weeks will show who will do the last dance in this tango.

Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency

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