How did President Emmanuel Macron arrive at France’s national day?
Macron is in a rather weak position. On April 17, in the midst of the controversy over the approval of the pension reform, he promised “100 days” to calm France with a battery of new proposals that Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne would manage. In fact, most of the proposals were already on the agenda and refer to measures such as a law to create “full employment”, another to tighten the rules regarding unemployment benefits, the French RSA, a draft immigration law (which has been delayed) and so on. It is not exactly a set of reforms that inspires the French, and he has not, although most of the legislation has advanced in the Senate or the National Assembly. Of course, “events” have blown up any idea that France was calm, appeased… and there are rumors of a cabinet reshuffle and perhaps even a change of prime minister. As a consequence, Macron announced that he will not deliver the traditional address to the nation on July 14. It’s not the first time this hasn’t happened, but he suggests hesitation again on his part.
Two weeks after the riots, could there be another night of violence?
There may be, although if there are riots, it will underscore to the majority of the French population that they had little to do with Nahel’s death. I’m not saying they didn’t, but in “deep France” there is little sympathy or understanding for what happened.
Therefore, the wounds have not yet healed?
The divisions of the two or more Frances will not heal overnight. But I am still waiting for any sign that Macron has understood that there is even a problem. At least in 1981 in the UK, around the time of the Brixton riots, Margaret Thatcher understood that something was up and she commissioned Lord Scarman to write a report on the riots. It was by no means perfect, but at least it was done.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the guest of honor on Bastille Day, why is India so important to France?
France is a global player, India is becoming one. France has a major military-industrial complex and sells, among other things, Rafale fighters to India. There is a lot to gain for both of you from this relationship. The UK does not hold a unique or special place in the hearts and minds of modern India.