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The German election is a disaster for France’s Macron: Here’s why

Germany now certain to reject Macron plan for EU reform

Alexander Mercouris

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The election in Germany, which has left Merkel looking mortally wounded and has shattered the German consensus of unconditional support for Germany’s Atlanticist foreign policy and for the EU, is a political earthquake.  One person buried under the rubble is France’s new President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron fought the Presidential election in France at a time of growing disillusion in France with the EU.  He nonetheless fought and won the campaign on a counter-intuitive platform of “more Europe”.  This admitted that EU institutions are dysfunctional and that the eurozone is working against French economic interests.  However it argued that the solution to this problem was not to take France out of the eurozone or the EU but to reform the EU institutions and the eurozone in order to rebalance them in France’s national interest.

To this end Macron during the election proposed some very ambitious changes to the way the eurozone and the EU are run, though the details remain vague.  Here is how Reuters summarises them

Macron has said he would make proposals on about 10 issues including strengthening the economic and monetary union, deepening European defence, reinforcing migration policy and strengthening social and fiscal convergence in the bloc.

Of these the most important obviously is “strengthening the economic and monetary union”, with it widely supposed that what Macron is aiming for is the setting up of a central EU finance ministry and treasury department to complement the European Central Bank on the fiscal front.

That of course is not just a policy of “more Europe”.  It is a clearcut expression of an intention to integrate the EU further, making it still more into a ‘super state’.

Macron has always understood that this very ambitious programme requires German support, and since becoming French President he has pursued policies in France intended to gain that support.  Specifically he has sought to impress Germany’s fiscal conservatives by acting to slash France’s budget deficit, and he has also sought to introduce labour market reforms on German lines intended to make the French workforce, like the German workforce, more flexible.

These policies have come at a high political cost in France where Macron’s popularity has plunged at a faster rate than that of any French President since the creation of the Fifth Republic.

Beyond the predictable unpopularity of the labour market reforms with much of the French workforce, there is also expert criticism that Macron’s emphasis on reducing the budget deficit is delaying essential tax reforms which are of greater importance to the French economy.  Moreover some of these same experts are warning that Macron’s emphasis on budget cutting and labour market reform will at least in the short term reduce the economy’s growth rate, and might aggravate a future recession, causing France’s already high level of unemployment to shoot up.

From Macron’s point of view these risks are worthwhile if on the strength of his domestic reforms he can persuade the Germans to agree to the reforms of the EU’s institutions and of the eurozone that he wants.  As pithily explained in an article in Politico written on 17th September 2017 – ie. before the German election

……Macron’s priority is to help Merkel help him. The French president knows his proposals to deepen eurozone integration can only advance if the German public is convinced Merkel is dealing with a serious partner who knows how to manage his own budget.

This entire strategy however rested on the assumption that Merkel would convincingly win the German election on Sunday.

That of course was an assumption that was widely made.  The well nigh universal neoliberal belief across Europe and North America before the German election was that Germany’s economic success and the weight of German history would make it impossible for a party like the AfD to make significant inroads, and that the only issue in the German election was the size of Merkel’s majority.

Macron’s confidence in this outcome is shown by his decision to roll out his proposed reforms of the EU and of the eurozone in a speech on 26th September 2017, two days after what he undoubtedly expected would be Merkel’s triumphant re-election.  Obviously he hoped to catch Merkel on a roll, so that he could move forward quickly with her after the election to agree the reforms to the EU institutions and to the eurozone that he wanted.

This was always a bad strategy.  Like Tsipras of Greece Macron was in my opinion making the mistake of treating Merkel’s emollient language about his ideas as an indicator that she would eventually agree to them.  In reality Merkel has always acted to block all change to the eurozone or to the EU’s institutions which did not serve narrow German interests or which might be controversial with the conservative part of the German electorate which votes for her.

The fundamental issue is that of fiscal transfers from Germany to the other members of the eurozone.  Conservative German opinion has always strongly opposed this, and so as a result has Merkel.

In practice fiscal transfers from Germany to the other members of the eurozone have been taking place covertly for some time in the form of the bailouts of the eurozone’s weaker members (first and foremost Greece) and of the European Central Bank’s bond buying and quantitative easing programme.

These transfers have already been controversial in Germany (the Greek bailouts led directly to the creation of the AfD), but they have been grudgingly accepted as the price to pay for keeping the eurozone going and because they have been carried out in an informal and unacknowledged way.  By contrast the reforms Macron is proposing – involving the creation of an EU finance ministry and a treasury department – threaten to make fiscal transfers not only formal but institutional.  As such conservative opinion in Germany was always in my opinion bound to oppose them, as ultimately Merkel would have done.

The question is now anyway academic because in her present severely weakened state following the election Merkel would be in no position to agree to the sort of reforms Macron is calling for even she wanted to.  The AfD, which was created to oppose the bailouts, would of course vehemently object, as apparently does Merkel’s likely coalition partner the FDP, whose leader Christian Lindner has already poured scorn on Macron’s proposals and made clear that fiscal transfers are for his party a “line in the sand”.

Over and above the objections from the AfD and from the FDP, it beggars belief that many of the conservative members of the CDU and the CSU would now agree to institutionalised fiscal transfers, which would expose them to further challenge by the AfD.

Though Macron will no doubt go ahead and pronounce his proposals tomorrow, there is now no possibility that they will ever be implemented, at least in the form he wants.

Needless to say that calls into question the whole logic of Macron’s reform programme at home, and indeed of his victory in the Presidential election on the promise of “more Europe”.  Since that is not going to happen – at least in the way he wants – it is difficult now to see the point of him.

The French system makes it all but impossible to dethrone a French President during his term and Macron will no doubt continue to the end of his term, though bereft of point or purpose.  However it is now looking extremely unlikely that he will be re-elected.

In the meantime France looks like it must live with yet another failed Presidency coming after those of Sarkozy and Hollande, and a further period of drift.

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seby
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seby

Let’s hope Jean-Luc Mélenchon doesnt do a Syriza and sell out working people. What’s happened to Marine Le Pen? She only do electioneering, but not the real everyday politics?

JNDillard
Guest
JNDillard

Marine gave up politics to raise her children.

seby
Guest
seby

Really? I thought it was her beautiful niece Marion who did so.

JNDillard
Guest
JNDillard

Dear Seby, Thank you for correcting me.

seby
Guest
seby

Looking more into this, I came across an article that Philippot, her right hand man and one of the best has quit. Very sad reason. The French political scene is more fucked up than I thought. Almost as pathetic as the USA.
http://www.euronews.com/2017/09/21/marine-le-pen-s-future-unclear-after-right-hand-man-philippot-quits

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

She’s a woman ! She got bamboozled ??
Women are easily bamboozled ?? Doubt it ?? Then tell me, how many unmarried mothers, single mum that you know ??

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Is this a census?

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

Quote: Let’s hope Jean-Luc Mélenchon doesn’t do a Syriza ??
seby , We in France have a saying ?? “Hope ?? Is the mother of the imbecile”??
Tell me ? In how many politicians,did you had hopes ?? & how many didn’t disappointed your hope ??

seby
Guest
seby

Well I am not sure if I care for the wisdom of a nation with an electoral system that put a rothschild puppet in power. Have a nice croissant.

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

Humm…You believe in the electoral system ?? A gopher for the dung beetle bloodline, unknown to the majority, without a party, win the election with a score of over 66& ?? When even De Gaulle at the top of his popularity, with a backing of his own party, managed to get a bit over 65% ?? ROFLOL …
BTW Croissants originated from Vienna ??

seby
Guest
seby

I suggest you eat healthier. It’s clear you have too many stress hormones in your body and have a problem listening to what people say. Au revoir.

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

Shalom !

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Croissant is originated from Vienna, that is correct.

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

French is a beautiful language.
Love the French interpretation of the so “important politics”.
Well formulated. Compliment.

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

You’re welcome ..

Hamletquest
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Hamletquest

I do think that there will be those in Washington who are quite pleased with this humbling of Mutti Merkel and hobbling of Macron. As we know the neo-con project for global dominance/ exceptional unilateralism coupled with the whole US first, second the third political agenda of Agent Orange, plays straight into the wrecking of the EU or at least having its parts in its pockets, so to speak… There is no evidence that the US deep state has anything but contempt for Europe and its institutions. Clearly Frau Merkel has had her arms twisted on more that one occasion… Read more »

JNDillard
Guest
JNDillard

Europe is moribund, devoid of ideas, a ship with sails in irons. Since WWII it has found direction, and generally success, following the policies of the US. However, this is no longer possible due to the increasingly and obviously deranged nature of US policy. While this is impossible for Macron, if I were in his shoes, I would do whatever I could to form strong trading alliances with Russia and China while distancing myself from NATO and the Atlantic Alliance, while not forsaking the EU. This would, of course, upset everyone, but from my perspective, this is the direction France… Read more »

Franz Kafka
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Franz Kafka

Europe was subjected to the full assault of CIA media manipulation and social engineering even earlier than the USA was – starting in 1945. Europeans are just Americans now speaking funny languages.

PhoebeDHarry
Guest
PhoebeDHarry

Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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samo war
Guest
samo war

&

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

BYW .. Maqueraux message to France, apply as well to Germany ???
http://pauvrefrance.p.a.pic.centerblog.net/Affiche-macron.jpg

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Manny Macaroni is a disgrace to manhood and good governance.

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

AAahhh, we have to wait a while it that is true.

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Assuming that it is well known that the boy president of France Mr. Macron has been put on that throne by the Banksters, the French Rotschild Banksters. Macron is nothing more than a hot air puppet who is just following orders. There is no difference between US Inc. and Europe/Paris and Freestate Berlin.

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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