Text: Žikica Milošević
Back in the day, Lady Diana was affectionally called „The Queen of Hearts“ in the British press, alluding to her future queenship and her ‘reign’ over the hearts of many people because of her warm speeches, beauty, youth, energy and unconventional behaviour. Today, we have another superstar in Europe – Emmanuel Macron, the new French president.
The new French president is ‘very French’ in more ways than one. France has had a tumultuous history and has been constantly zig-zagging between being monarchy and republic. Considering that the most French thing lately has been the funeral of Francois Mitterrand, which, in addition to his ‘regular’ family, was attended by his mistress Anne Pingeot and their daughter Mazarine, who, at the time of the funeral in 1996, was 20 years old. Maybe, at the time when John Major was the UK’s prime minister, this would be downright shocking to see, but 21 years on, things have completely changed. Back then, Great Britain danced to the rythm of British pop, geared itself for Tony Blair, and was ‘Cool Britannia’, open to migrants while France, on the other hand, was already easy going. Now, Great Britain is on its way to exit the EU, and France, along with Germany, are given a task to find a new meaning for the shrunk Union. It is the younger of the Merkel-Macron duo that has to reform the European Union to become a more sustainble and dynamic community before the third decade of the 21st century starts. Why is that so? Because Protestant Merkel always cared more about stability which she is good at, and small changes, while her shadow cabinet, including the notoriously strict keeper of the German and European treasury, Wolfgang Schäuble is not too keen on spending money to save Spain, Portugal, Italy or Greece. Following the global economic crisis, the eurozone crisis and the sanctions towards Russia, ‘saving’ Europe will not be such an easy task. Add to this the migrant crisis that has hit the aformentioned European countries the most… So, it’s time for Macron to step in.
A MAN WITH A PLAN
Macron is the one who comes up with dynamic ideas which, according to some, will replace the complicated system of 20 different pension schemes with a uniformed one. Workers will be more mobile, societies more open, and France will regain its leadership position, pushing Great Britain and Germany aside. He is the one who bravely showed his wife, who is 24 years his senior and his former teacher, to the public. He killed two taboos in America with one stone – namely, that it is a common place to have a younger, not older, wife, and the relations between students and teachers are usually ‘discouraged’. But maybe the young and charming president won the heart of the Americans when he asked: „If Trump can have a younger wife and if the same sex marriages were legalized during Hollande, why should I be forbidden to love whom I love?“ That’s right, he shouldn’t.
A MAN OF REVOLUTION
In a country that is known for its democracy and revolutions, this was exactly that – democracy and a revolution. A social revolution! The second revolution came with formation of a new party that leans on the personality of its leader, which, you have to admit, was something that Serbia, Russia, Italy and several other countries with lesser established, stable parties, were known for. Here, in France, the Free Left (La Gauche Libre) movement decided to declare itself a political organization, and, on 6th April, just prior to Britain declaring Brexit and six months before Trump’s presidential win, officially became a political party called ‘La Republique en marche!’ (The Republic in Motion!). In 2017, 66% of the electorate voted for Macron as the new president, and subsequently, his party won 310 out of 577 seats in the parliament, a rather comfortable margin, at the parliamentary elections.
PEOPLE READY FOR A CHANGE
The most important thing of all is that peole are ready for change. The tepid Hollande and the overly rigid Sarkozy were not satisfactory options. Terrorist attacks, radicalization of suburbs, social problems and failed hopes… From the time when Mitterrand was president and after, during the 1990s, the French were a super power in everything, from culture to economy. Then the country was brought down to its knees. Apart from the French intervention in Mali when the jihadists, who ‘won the revolution’ from the Tuareg rebels, became a threat to France and the French soldiers, who had managed to unite the country over this intervention, were met with cheers by the Africans, France did not score many political successes, while its economy was kind of middle-of-the-road. Macron is often compared to J.F. Kennedy because he is young, charming, energetic, and has a plan. Does he want people to do something for their country, and not ask what their country can do for them? No, he doesn’t. He claims that the country will do for them what they do for the country. It is a social agreement fitting of the 21st century. If he succeeds, the EU has hope, and France has an opportunity to hit „the refresh button“.