The Romans said that the Tarpeian Rock (where prisoners were executed) was close to the Capitol (center of power). In other words, the consecration of a great success could be quickly followed by a sudden fall. It’s a bit like what happened to Emmanuel Macron.
In May 2017, he was triumphantly elected as president of the French Republic with 66% of the vote. The Economist, a weekly of the global elite, represented him on the cover: he walked on the water. He was considered the man who would revive Europe and oppose all populism. This week the same magazine published the picture of the vandalized Arc de Triomphe. In the French streets thousands of people chant “Macron, resign!”
The first measures of Emmanuel Macron focused on the economic competitiveness of France, but left out the reduction of inequalities. Macron got an image of “the president of the rich.” Some remarks, considered contemptuous regarding the underprivileged classes, aggravated this problem. In a way that has taken all observers unexpectedly, the most disadvantaged have mobilized and discovered their strength. Emmanuel Macron was forced to make a major shift by announcing strong social measures. Will they be enough to bring the irruption of anger back into calm river? The mobilization will probably weaken, but it will not disappear.
This mobilization recalls that one cannot bring reforms against the opinion of the population and that the poorest can manage to be heard strongly and to block the country, if they have the feeling of despised and ignored. Social networks and news channels continue to offer them a sounding board.
The election of a new leader as the head of the German CDU gives Chancellor Angela Merkel room for maneuver. The possibility of European strategic autonomy depends on the Franco-German tandem, which is the central strategic objective of Emmanuel Macron. The real weight of France was not affected by this December uprising. Anyway, the events in France show that leaders must be attentive to popular movements and that internal social cohesion is the first condition of a global stature.