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Finland ready to welcome ISIS jihadists with social benefits and apartments

Providing apartments and cash to ISIS fighters.

Alex Christoforou

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Finland believes that it can integrate ISIS jihadists into its neo-liberal, progressive society with social benefits and safe spaces.

Finnish officials are considering providing former ISIS members with extra social services to reintegrate back into society.

The Finnish daily Ilta-Sanomat reports that Finland’s Interior Ministry called for cooperation between the relevant bodies to increase the level of integration by providing apartments and livelihoods to repentant jihadists.

We are confident that the ISIS fighters (soon to be living in Finland) will appreciate the hand out and privileged social status with some ISIS jihadist cultural exchange suicide cars and trucks.

Via Sputnik News

From a moral standpoint, however, it would be problematic to provide Daesh defectors with extras ahead of others, while making ordinary citizens wait for long periods of time to receive state-funded housing, the Finnish newspaper noted. This could be perceived as encouraging terrorist behavior. According to the Interior Ministry, social workers will have to solve this problem in practice.

In its reply to the Interior Ministry, Vantaa City noted that the current welfare system is lacking provisions for special services to people who have returned from military conflicts, which implies a risk that this particular group of people can remain without the necessary social help, unless special assistance is rendered.

“I believe that if reintegration into society is considered one of the best mechanisms against radicalization, then an apartment, work training are of paramount importance,” Anna Cantell-Forsbom, the head of Vantaa family service department, told Ilta-Sanomat, venturing that the sheer danger the returnees pose justifies priority service. “Of course, other support should be provided as well. An apartment alone does not solve anything. Other vital aspects should also be considered,” she added.

Previously, Vantaa provided counseling on social issues and mental health services to several people who returned from combat zones.

Meanwhile, Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health welcomed the Interior Ministry’s proposal, suggesting that the families of the returnees, especially those who have seen or experienced violence, are in dire need of prompt assistance.

According to Tarja Mankkinen, development director of the Interior Ministry, the foremost thing would be to establish whether the defectors have been involved in crimes. However, she ventured that they could also be eligible for various form of assistance at one stage or another.

All in all, at least 80 people have left Finland to join various terrorist organizations. The number could be much higher, however, as not all identities have been successfully established. Pekka Hiltunen, Finnish Security Police (SUPO) special representative on combating terrorism, previously stated that several “Finnish” jihadists had risen to positions of prominence in Daesh, without disclosing their names.

Earlier this week, Interior Ministry permanent secretary Päivi Nerg said that outcasts from Finnish society constituted the biggest security threat and expressed concern about the spread of radical Islamist propaganda among Finns.

“The propaganda currently aimed at Finnish outcasts and even asylum seekers is terrifyingly effective,” Päivi Nerg said, as quoted by the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat.

At present, people formerly involved in extremist activities may receive help in renouncing violence from the so-called “exit” organization Radinet project, funded by the RAY slot machine association with the help from Interior Ministry.

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Voltaire
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Voltaire

So the social suicide of Europe continues…

Brian De Paolo
Guest
Brian De Paolo

ISIS was created over a religious identity not a political one….if they won in Syria do you think they could govern..no way..now some dipstick thinks that by giving them whatever they want is the way to offer repentance…give an inch and they take a mile…so in order to supply a lifestyle to head hunters they will have to borrow more money from you know who….then buy more fire trucks to put the fires out…

ruca
Guest
ruca

Yes the imbeciles that went to destroy Syria, should be destroyed in Syria. They chose their destiny for a few dirty dollars. To hell with them.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Could I just take issue with the idea of offering repentance? It’s a Christian concept, isn’t it? I imagine no muslim would be seen dead repenting.

Nomideva
Guest
Nomideva

While I don’t agree with it, didn’t either The Duran or RT already report on how wise Bashar al-Assad supposedly was for taking this approach (reintegrating, not the social security necessarily) to reintegrate Syrians who joined one of (or was it any of?) ISIS/al-Nusra/FSA/other “rebels” back into the country (and possibly into the pro-government forces).
One aim of this was to encourage rebellion/loss of morale in jihadist ranks.
I swear there was an article like this which painted that decision in a good light.

Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

It is one thing for Bashar to “reintegrate” “rebels” within Syria…and he probably knows who they are…

Quite another for a European country to welcome thousands of “migrants” without even knowing who they are….

That is called Social Suicide…

Tom Ripley
Guest
Tom Ripley

So what do you suggest we do?

Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die

PS The floodgates are wide open…

No one cares in Europe except for a small minority….

The United States has gone rogue…

Western Civlisation will collape within a generation now…

Tom Ripley
Guest
Tom Ripley

Too much “The Strange Death Of Europe” for you, mister.

Simon
Guest
Simon

Bashar’s compassion was clearly explained – he said many local Syrians had joined ISIS/Nusra etc through abject poverty, poor education, fear, protecting their families, no choice etc
He offers them a second chance. And they are Syrian citizens.

No one traveling there from Finland could be that poor, afraid or illiterate. They are thus either thrill-seekers or true believers who made a conscious choice. Perhaps deserving of less compassion on their return?

Jane Karlsson
Guest
Jane Karlsson

Exactly

tiger
Guest
tiger

Simple and effective. Accept misguided foxes back into the den, same instincts, beliefs & customs. Accept foxes into the chicken yard. All chickens dead.

mikhas
Guest
mikhas

This has (under some hush hush) been going on here in the land of Political Correctness, Sweden for a while. Terrorists are welcomed back to rehabilitation with life-time social welfare & benefits as well as (changed) protected identities.

Needless to say, it didn’t turn out well. many go back to wherever Uncle Schlomo are calling them but not before a killing and raping spree before they go.

The Germans have a saying: “Die dummen Schweden”, it means exactly what it sounds like but i wonder who’s the worst here really….

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Who says crime does not pay?
Insane … but it is the Finnish or EU/Finissh decision. They have probably say yes to this “EU-command” otherwise they will be sued by Mrs.Merkel and her EU-Lackeys. Like the Visegrad-countries!

Ilkka Hirvi
Guest
Ilkka Hirvi

Yes. And many, many politicians in Finland have shareholdings and other direct and indirect personal financial relations to private firms providing social services, attorneys, and other taxpayer-paid services for immigrants. For example, minister Petteri Orpo’s wife is a shareholder in a law firm Lakiverstas Oy, specialized in making appeals on dismissed asylum decisions. And several politicians are holding their shares in reception center firm Luona Oy. Despite the fake ratings of Transparency International (an organisation funded by Soros and FINNISH instances) Finnish government is one of the most corrupt ones of Europe, and extremely arrogant on own nationalist-minded people who… Read more »

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Thank you, Likka, very interesting to know how the politicians “react” to the immigrant or fugitive invasion of Europe.
Take care and good luck to you and all the other Finns who love their country.

Ilkka Hirvi
Guest
Ilkka Hirvi

Thanks for your emphaty, really warming my heart in this stone cold political climate of Finland.

XRGRSF
Guest
XRGRSF

The cultural suicide of the West continues. It will all be over soon; ending with a whimper.

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

Complete and utter madness .

Cale
Guest
Cale

ISIS; fighting an illegal war, occupying land and terrorizing civillians. Kidnapping, torture and rape. Terrorist acts, killing innocent people in Europe. And rewarded with free money and free housing? The west has become insane.

Tommy Jensen
Guest
Tommy Jensen

This is not even the worst.
In the evening you can see Scandinavian elite on TV smearing intelligent hardworking proud moslem women for being a threat to “Scandinavian values” because of their scarfs.

TransMichelle
Guest
TransMichelle

This says it all….!
comment image

Pasi Turunen
Guest
Pasi Turunen

This news is totally false, but who cares and we just need to kill all of those ISIS-members who appear here.

Pasi Turunen
Guest
Pasi Turunen

This news is totally false, but who cares and we just need to kill all of those ISIS-members who appear here.comment image

santiago
Guest
santiago

Hope you are right, for me is a total shock.

Ilkka Hirvi
Guest
Ilkka Hirvi

As a clarification, note that Pasi Turunen meant that the picture he uploaded is false news, the Duran article, on the other hand, is completely true. Unfortunately.

Ilkka Hirvi
Guest
Ilkka Hirvi

Note that he meant his own uploaded picture meme was of false news, not the Duran article, which – sad it is – is completely true.

Mike
Guest
Mike

You will REALLY come to regret this stupid decision.

Ozzy Guy
Guest
Ozzy Guy

…and all the white women and children they want.

tiger
Guest
tiger

You don’t get into bed with a snake then complain when it bites you. The madness (and stupidity) that drove them to ISIS may not be curable. Only an idiot Muslim would join an Israel/US criminal gang that murders fellow Muslims. This type can’t be cured.

Shue
Guest
Shue

A pity they didn’t make the same offer to the Syrians running away from these terrorist filth. Fucking Westerners (the ones running the show), have got shit for brains.

santiago
Guest
santiago

Oh Finland!!!! What has happened to you?

There wont be a Mannerheim anytime soon. the Finnish don’t exist anymore they have been destroyed.

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

The Swedish virus has become epidemic in Finland ?? What do they put there in the drinking water ??

tjoes
Guest
tjoes

So Israel and the US need a place to park their terrorists until the next mercenary war. Yes…good idea but don’t forget to set up programs for the children they leave with your women.

tjoes
Guest
tjoes

Israel doesn’t like Palestinians being paid for being a martyr but they will support rewarding terrorists that fight the Israel/US never-ending wars. Isn’t it rather clear who is supporting “terrorists” now….not Iran.

TheQneb
Guest
TheQneb

Rubbish. There is lot’s of people against mass imigration in Finland, far more than in rest of Europe except for Poland and perhaps some other east european states. This is Fake News. Liberalism is downtrending here.

Ilkka Hirvi
Guest
Ilkka Hirvi

Wrong. This is absolutely not rubbish, nor Fake News. While most of the other things you mentioned are true, they have nothing to do with things reported on the Duran article, which is completely true, along with all the quoted public statements of Finnish authorities. What comes to the things happened in the Finnish politics during the last 2 months, the changes are virtually entirely to make it possible to arbitrarily oppress Finnish nationalists even more, and those ones of the changes that are described as means for tackling terrorism and criminality committed by asylum seekers will never be actually… Read more »

Ian
Guest
Ian

So Finland believes that it can integrate ISIS jihadists are they mad, these monsters are programed killers, and once that happens no social help will save them, for the crimes they have committed they will go to hell, and it is going to be a very long time, before they make it back to a 3rd dimensional planet their reptilian false god will not save them in fact they have been tricked.

Tom Ripley
Guest
Tom Ripley

What makes you think they can’t be reformed and integrated?

cortisol
Guest
cortisol

They supposedly were running from al-Qaeda/IS et. al. terrorists in the first place and were granted asylum based on that. Then after they received asylum ran off to join those exact jihad ideologies. Now they come back again? Makes no sense at all. It can’t be explained by “poverty” or “segregation”, only through a personal choice. Only an ultimate idiot expects this ideology to change if it didn’t in the first place, with all these prerequisites for quality of life improved. Just to clarify this article was real news. Sweden already implemented this policy and Finland is always running a… Read more »

Tom Ripley
Guest
Tom Ripley

Suppose that someone joins a jihadist movement after having swallowed their propaganda, goes down to Syria or Iraq, is disillusioned by what he sees, is not at any point directly involved in war crimes and wants to go back. How should such people be treated? Also suppose that he only has the Finnish citizenship, and cant realistically be turned away.

cortisol
Guest
cortisol

This is how it works. Disillusioned because ISIS, al-Qaeda etc. ran out of money due to yankee/CIA withdrawing funding, no more money, hookers and hoes, captagon drugs and chopping heads off for fun with no penalty. And it’s no fun in getting their ass kicked. So back off to suck at the friendly tax payer titty in these cuckolded nations, being kept well fed (in storage) until the next jihadist group is created or pops up somewhere else (like Egypt or Afghanistan, or perhaps France). There is always a “home country” regardless whether they threw their passport in the Mediterranean… Read more »

Tom Ripley
Guest
Tom Ripley

You’re not answering my question. Please read it again.

cortisol
Guest
cortisol

Your question to me seems to be quite trivial and only a tiny fraction of all cases in the grand context of things, but anyway, it’s simple. Such people should be refused access back. What is in that particular jihadist propaganda that could have affected them in the first place? In practice of course it is impossible to verify whether such persons have been involved in atrocities or not, but the basic assumption is they have, until proven otherwise, because that is what the moderate head chopper groups do for living. In practice many terrorists are coming home from Syria… Read more »

Tom Ripley
Guest
Tom Ripley
Ilkka Hirvi
Guest
Ilkka Hirvi

Wrong. If you read this The Duran article carefully, you can see that it describes in very detail which government instances and persons have suggested what, and what has been commented by other officials, including problematic viewpoints. And in the very beginning of this article, it says “Finnish officials are CONSIDERING…” So even though the headline was just as frank as every other headline in every commercial media in the world, this article didn’t at any point claim that Finnish government would have yet decided anything on the subject, just reported about some rather reasonably worrying occurences in Finnish political… Read more »

Katri Paakkari
Guest
Katri Paakkari

This article is a wrongly interpret from the original article and is not true.

Ilkka Hirvi
Guest
Ilkka Hirvi

You seem to have an own interpretation problem. Although the headline is as overtly provocative as in articles of every non-governmental media of the world, there is nothing untrue in the contents of this article. It clearly says in the very beginning that Finnish officials are CONSIDERING this, not that the government has decided anything, and then it reports about knownly true statements from certain named official instances and personnel, what some of them have suggested and how others have taken them. Even though there are less or more officials opposing this, there are still way too high portion of… Read more »

Katri Paakkari
Guest
Katri Paakkari

Here is the original article this one “refers” to. There is nothing ready about it. http://www.is.fi/kotimaa/art-2000005345630.html

Ilkka Hirvi
Guest
Ilkka Hirvi

Indeed. The intentionally provocative headline word “ready” was the only thing in this The Duran article which could be considered false, by strict interpretation. But if you read the article itself, you will clearly see it writes CONSIDERING in its very beginning, so it was absolutely not claiming anything being ready after all, even though all HEADLINES in every pay-per-click-advertising-funded media are intentionally provocative, and meant to be interpreted loosely. All the contents in this article itself were completely true, as you can verify from the original article.

Dizzz
Member
Dizzz

Why allow this murderous scum into Finland, is the government mad, don’t they care about the risks these people pose to the law abiding Finish people.
No good will come from giving terrorists preferential treatment.

Shahna
Guest

You don’t have poor people who didn’t cross borders to KILL people or launch terror attacks in their own country?

‘Cos if you do – then you OWE THEM – not ISILs.

P0shzZ0la
Guest
P0shzZ0la

This is it:
comment image

Lou Stools
Guest
Lou Stools

•C U C K• Level: > 9 0 0 0
sickening!

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French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

RT

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By

Via RT…


Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

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Soros Mimics Hitler’s Bankers: Will Burden Europeans With Debt To ‘Save’ Them

George Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas.

The Duran

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Via GEFIRA:


After the Second World War, many economists racked their brains to answer the question of how Hitler managed to finance his armament, boost the economy and reduce unemployment.

Today his trick is well known. The economic miracle of Führer’s time became possible thanks to the so-called Mefo promissory notes.

The notes were the idea of the then President of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, and served not only to finance the armament of the Wehrmacht for the Second World War, but also to create state jobs, which would otherwise not have been possible through the normal use of the money and capital markets, i.e. the annual increase in savings in Germany.

The Reich thus financed the armaments industry by accepting notes issued by the dummy company Metallurgische Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH (hence the name Mefo) rather than paying them in cash. The creation of money was in full swing from 1934 to 1938 – the total amount of notes issued at that time was 12 billion marks. The Reichsbank declared to the German banks that it was prepared to rediscount the Mefo notes, thus enabling the banks to discount them.

Because of their five-year term, the redemption of notes had to begin in 1939 at the latest. This threatened with enormous inflation. Since Schacht saw this as a threat to the Reichsmark, he expressed his doubts about the Reich Minister of Finance. But it did not help, and Schacht was quickly replaced by Economics Minister Walther Funk, who declared that the Reich would not redeem the Mefo notes, but would give Reich bonds to the Reichsbank in exchange. At the time of Funk, the autonomous Reichsbank statute was abolished, the Reichsbank was nationalized, and inflation exploded in such a way that Mefo notes with a circulation of 60 billion Reichsmark burdened the budget in post-war Germany.

George Soros also proposes such a money flurry in the style of Schacht and Funk.

Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas. He calls on the EU heads of state and governments to effectively deal with the migrant crisis through money flooding, which he calls “surge funding”.

“This would help to keep the influx of refugees at a level that Europe can absorb.”

Can absorb? Soros would be satisfied with the reception of 300,000 to 500,000 migrants per year. However, he is aware that the costs of his ethnic exchange plan are not financially feasible. In addition to the already enormous costs caused by migrants already in Europe, such a large number of new arrivals would add billions each year.

Soros calculates it at 30 billion euros a year, but argues that it would be worth it because “there is a real threat that the refugee crisis could cause the collapse of Europe’s Schengen system of open internal borders among twenty-six European states,” which would cost the EU between 47 and 100 billion euros in GDP losses.

Soros thus sees the financing of migrants and also of non-European countries that primarily receive migrants (which he also advocates) as a win-win relationship. He calls for the introduction of a new tax for the refugee crisis in the member states, including a financial transaction tax, an increase in VAT and the establishment of refugee funds. Soros knows, however, that such measures would not be accepted in the EU countries, so he proposes a different solution, which does not require a vote in the sovereign countries.

The new EU debt should be made by the EU taking advantage of its largely unused AAA credit status and issuing long-term bonds, which would boost the European economy. The funds could come from the European Stability Mechanism and the EU balance of payments support institution.

 “Both also have very similar institutional structures, and they are both backed entirely by the EU budget—and therefore do not require national guarantees or national parliamentary approval.“

In this way, the ESM and the BoPA (Balance of Payments Assistance Facility) would become the new Mefo’s that could issue bills of exchange, perhaps even cheques for Turks, Soros NGOs. Soros calculates that both institutions have a credit capacity of 60 billion, which should only increase as Portugal, Ireland and Greece repay each year the loans they received during the euro crisis. According to Soros, the old debts should be used to finance the new ones in such a way that it officially does not burden the budget in any of the EU Member States. The financial institutions that are to carry out this debt fraud must extend (indeed – cancel) their status, as the leader of the refugees expressed such a wish in his speech.

That Soros is striving to replace the indigenous European population with new arrivals from Africa and Asia is clear to anyone who observes its activities in Europe. The question is: what does he want to do this for and who is the real ruler, behind him, the real leader?

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The French People Feel Screwed

For the first time in his presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

The Duran

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Authored by David Brown via The Gatestone Institute:


On December 4, French Prime Minister Édouard Phillipe told deputies of the ruling party, “La République en Marche”, that a proposed fuel tax rise, which had led to the largest protests France has seen in decades, would be suspended.

The protesters, called Gilets-Jaunes — “Yellow Vests,” because of the vests drivers are obliged by the government to carry in their vehicles in the event of a roadside breakdown — say that the fuel tax was the last straw from a president who took office with a promise to help the economically left-behind but instead has favoured the rich.

Even by French standards, the protests of the “Yellow Vests” during the weekend of December 1 were startling. Burning cars and vast plumes of grey smoke seemed to engulf the Arc De Triomphe as if Paris were at war. Comparisons were drawn with the Bread Wars of the 17th Century and the spirit of the Revolution of the 18th Century.

For more than two weeks, the “Yellow Vests” disrupted France. They paralyzed highways and forced roads to close — causing shortages across the country – and blocked fuel stations from Lille in the North to Marseilles in the South.

During protests in France’s capital, Paris, the “Yellow Vests” were soon joined by a more violent element, who began torching cars, smashing windows and looting stores. 133 were injured, 412 were arrested and more than 10,000 tear gas and stun grenades were fired.

One elderly lady was killed when she was struck by a stray grenade as she tried to shutter her windows against the melee.

There was talk of imposing a State of Emergency.

The “Yellow Vests” present the most significant opposition French President Emmanuel Macron has faced since coming to office in May 2017. Unlike previous protests in France, which have divided public opinion, these have widespread support – 72% according to a Harris Interactive Poll published December 1st.

Fuel tax rises — announced in November before being retracted on December — were intended to help bring down France’s carbon emissions by curbing the use of cars. Macron makes no secret of his wish to be seen as a global leader for environmental reform.

He forgets that back at home, among the people who elected him, fuel prices really matter to those outside big cities, where four-fifths of commuters drive to work and a third of them cover more than 30km each week.

The increases have incensed people in smaller communities, where they have already seen speed limits reduced to please the Greens and cuts to the local transport services.

These additional costs-of-living increases come at an extremely bad time for ordinary French people working outside of Paris. Lower-middle class families are not poor enough to receive welfare benefits but have seen their income flat-line whilst cost-of-living and taxes have risen.

An analysis by the Institut des Politiques Publiques think-tank shows that benefits cuts and tax changes in 2018 and 2019 will leave pensioners and the bottom fifth of households worse off, while the abolition of the wealth tax means that by far the biggest gains will go to the top 1%

This is tough to swallow. Macron is seen as being out of touch with ordinary people and is unlikely to escape his new title, “the President of the Rich.”

“People have this feeling that the Paris technocrats are doing complicated things to screw them,” said Charles Wyplosz, an economics professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

It is probably not as complex as that. The French people feel screwed.

As employment and growth are slowing, Macron, for the first time in his presidency, is under serious pressure. Unemployment is at 9%; his efforts to reform Europe are stalling, and his approval rating has plummeted to just 23% according to a recent opinion poll by IFOP.

Images of Macron at the Arc De Triomphe daubed in graffiti calling for him to step down, or worse, have done little to bolster his image abroad.

So far, Macron had said he would not bow to street protests. To underline his point, in September 2017, he called protestors against French labour-market reform “slackers”.

The political U-Turn on the fuel tax is a turning point for the Macron presidency. The question is : What next, both for Macron and the “Yellow Vests”?

Macron most likely needs to plough ahead with his reform agenda, and doubtless knows he has the support of a solid majority in the National Assembly to do so. France is crippled by debt (nearly 100% of GDP) and its grossly bloated public sector. There are 5.2 million civil servants in France, and their number has increased by 36% since 1983. These represent 22% of the workforce compared to an OCDE average of 15%.

Tax-expert Jean-Philippe Delsol says France has 1.5 million too many “fonctionnaires [officials]. When you consider that public spending in France now accounts for 57 per cent of gross domestic product. Soon the system will no longer function as there will be less and less people working to support more and more people working less”.

Macron’s mistake, in addition to a seeming inclination for arrogance, is not to have made national economic reform his absolute priority right from his initial grace period after his election. Lower public expenses would have made it possible to lower taxes, hence creating what economists call a virtuous circle. Instead, he waited.

Now, at a time when he is deeply unpopular and social unrest is in full sway he is looking to make further reforms in unemployment benefits, scaling them back by reducing the payments and the length of time beneficiaries can receive the money. The “President of the Rich” strikes again.

There is talk that he may also re-introduce the wealth tax to try to placate the protestors.

Macron’s presidential term lasts until May 13, 2022. Understandably, Macron will be focused on the elections to the European Parliament expected to be held May 23-26, 2019. Headlines have signalled that Marine Le Pen and the National Rally (formally National Front) are ahead in the polls at 20%, compared to Macron’s En Marche at 19%.

The shift is understandable, given the divide between the countryside, where Le Pen has solid support, and the cities, where Macron’s centre-left prevail.

In contrast, the “Yellow Vests” have galvanised support after standing up for the “impotent ordinary”, and seem much buoyed by the solidarity they have been shown by both fire fighters and the police. There are images online of police removing their helmets and firefighters turning their backs on political authority to show their support for the protestors.

Whilst Macron’s political opposition may be fragmented, this new breed of coherent public opposition is something new. Leaderless, unstructured and organised online, the “Yellow Vests” have gained support from the left and right, yet resisted subjugation by either.

Being leaderless makes them difficult to negotiate withor to reason with in private. The “Yellow Vests” seem acutely aware of this strength, given their firm rebuttal of overtures for peace talks from the Macron government.

Enjoying huge support from the public and with reforms to the social welfare system on the horizon, the “Yellow Vests” are not going away.

For the first time in his Presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

After Macron rebuked nationalism during his speech at the armistice ceremony, Trump was quick to remind the French President of his low approval rating and unemployment rate near 10%. A stinging broadside from Trump on twitter suggests that Macron may well be relegated to Trump’s list of global “Losers“:

“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!”

The “impotent ordinary” in the United Kingdom, who might feel betrayed over Brexit, and the nationalists in Germany, who have suffered under Merkel , are no doubt staring in wonder at the “Yellow Vests”, wishing for the same moxie.

The historian Thomas Carlyle, chronicler of the French Revolution, said the French were unrivaled practitioners in the “art of insurrection”, and characterised the French mob as the “liveliest phenomena of our world”.

Mobs in other countries, by comparison, he argued were “dull masses” lacking audacity and inventiveness. The blazing yellow vests of the French protest movement , however, have made Macron appear increasingly dull and weak too.

David Brown is based in the United Kingdom.

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