The French Constitutional Council rendered its verdict today about the government plan to charge tuition to non-EU university students. University education will remain free to all, no matter what the nationality. The government wanted to charge 2770 euros in fees for an undergraduate degree and 3770 euros for a masters degree.
It wasn't too hard for them to reach their verdict, because it is all written in the French constitution: "The Nation guarantees equal access to children and adults to education. The organisation of free and secular public education at every level of learning is a duty of the State."
There are so many US citizens who absolutely worship France, who will visit (especially) Paris multiple times, who see Frenchness as the pinnacle of human civility and refinement but who will then turn around and vote in their own country against some of the things France holds most dear -- universal healthcare and education being the most obvious examples.
Well, didn't it have to be said? What I take away from the first article is that Macron wants to air and discuss today's reality, and to take umbrage at that is simply a way of continuing to coast along as though everything is as it was ten or twenty years ago. From what I read, he is not so much trying "to build a French-focused Europe" as he is making it clear that the status quo is problematic and that all the European countries must work together &/or cede leadership to whichever of those countries is prepared to assume leadership.
What is throwing a lot of Europe off balance is that everybody has been walking on eggs for so long they are totally shocked when one of the leaders speaks frankly. The French pretty much invented diplomacy (with a bit of help from Machiavelli) -- as the terms used in English for diplomatic matters would appear to attest -- so it is even more destablizing when gloves are removed.
I really wonder how President Macron manages to set up so many unexpected (and useless?) meetings. Today we had a meeting in Paris with Macron, Merkel, Putin and Ukrainian president Zelenskiy to try to work out things between Russian and Ukraine. This is the first time the leaders of the four countries have met since 2016 and the first time that Zelenskiy has met Putin in person. Most of Europe has accused Macron of kissing up to Putin too much in the last year or so. But one wonders about the chances of any alternative strategies. If Macron were to threaten (?) Russia and stamp his feet, he would have even less support from the rest of Europe.
Meanwhile, Cédric Villani, the dissident Macron candidate (who is a math genius who won the Fields medal but who is also probably suffering from Asperger's) wants to move the Eurostar and the Thalys to a new station at Porte de la Chapelle or Saint Denis.
Neither of these projects is likely to ever happen, the principal reason being that the SNCF has complete control over its stations and rails, and the city of Paris has no say in the matter. Obviously, it can be bought out at the right price. Griveaux estimates the price of his project at 1.5 billion euros.
I am nevertheless quite happy to see such proposals made because little scraps will be remembered and reused. There is already a huge proposal for restructuring Gare du Nord in the works. Mayor Hidalgo opposes the project but is willing to negotiate. Basically, the plan is create a giant shopping mall on top of Gare du Nord, and access to the trains would be through this level (Arrivals would remain on the ground floor.). That is obviously an over simplification, but it gives the gist of the commercial scheme and the reason that a lot of people are against it.
In any case, the verdict will fall in two months, and you can expect some major changes in Paris… in 5 or 10 years.
We have been getting papers in the mailbox with "communication" from the mayor and other municipal lists. Of course, the mayor is saying what a great job has been done, while the others says that more public input is necessary. Interestingly, none of them mention any political affiliation.
I like trees as much as anyone, but also like structuring public transport, and think it should be in the heart of the city - of course there also have to be stations farther out. But making it central positions it as a rational choice as travellers can make the journey from city centre to city centre. I remember just catching the Thalys from Paris to Amsterdam from Gare du nord to Centraal Station...
I like mayor Hidalgo too.
Macron has a point against NATO, originally formed to counter the Soviet bloc. There is no more Soviet bloc. The military has a gift for self-preservation, although security concerns lie elsewhere nowadays. (I'm thinking mostly of terrorism, but more-informed people could doubtless add other considerations). And costs a fortune; it can also be a major and uncontrolled source of pollution.
Just two months to the municipal elections, which will be far more important than such things usually are (I'll get to that.). I have started receiving tracts in the street, including one handed to me by Ian Brossat of the communist party today. He is actually the most famous communist in France (on TV constantly) and will probably be the general secretary some day if he sticks with it. At the moment, he is in charge of housing for the city of Paris (Mr. Stop Airbnb) and is a stalwart assistant of Socialist mayor Hidalgo. This already sends lots of people into a rage, because Paris is one of the only cities in France where the communists are still in a coalition with the socialists. In most of France, they spit in each other's face. And this coalition is continuing for the upcoming election. In a city like Paris, Ian Brossat has a lot going for him, since he is young and homosexual, which are two elements that appeal to numerous Parisians (which is sort of like San Francisco, it must be said).
Anyway, what is important about the municipal elections this time, more than future national elections, is the fact that this is the first real test of President Macron's political party after all of the things that happened in the last year. Since it is a brand new party, it has very few elected officials in most municipalities -- just the turncoats from a couple of years ago. (I can't think of another term to use that would sound less negative, but people change political party all the time in France, socialist to ecologist, right wing to far right wing, communist to something else, etc...) In any case, things are looking grim for Macron compared to how they could have been. I'm sure that he will still say that he won after the election, because he will be going from more or less zero mayors to quite a few, no matter what.
Hihi A candidate for becoming mayor of Paris had to withdraw. He made a sextape with her mistress, sent it to her and oh strange her russian friend leaked it. I dont approve of breaking into private life but i do approve if arseholes get the heat for being so stupid.
The tape was actually made in 2018. I watched a TV debate about this: one woman defending the idea of privacy, ie Griveaux should not be punished for something done in this private life. This in fact seems to be the common opinion of politicians, who all defended him.
On the other hand, a journalist said that if you want to be in politics, especially now that social media is influential and people distrust politicians, anybody going into politics should know enough not to do anything so stupid. Furthermore, Griveaux based much of his electoral campaign on family life.
Yes, he had just done a five page spread in Paris Match to show his perfect family, so he was beyond stupid.
Just about every politician from all parties supported him in saying that whatever he does in his private life is perfectly fine and that he did nothing wrong, but I am pretty sure that many of them are complete hypocrites and need to go on record saying things like that in case their own skeletons are brought to light or those of their close friends and allies.
Yes, what bothers me the most about him is his manifest stupidity. Who wants someone so clueless as Mayor, who has to stand up to powerful interests? That story made the news here, amid much journalistic mirth.
Obviously, sending a video where you are masturbating is not going to enhance anybody's reputation. I am mystified that with all of the reports about hacking personal details (this video was not hacked of course) and all the rest, no matter what platform you use, encrypted or not, there is every chance in the world that it will end up public if you are of any interest to the public (and sometimes you will be of interest even if nobody knows who you are if the content is sleazy enough).
The extra little item that sent this over the top is that the video and the sex messages were sent to a young woman who was totally happy to receive them, but a year later she was in a relationship with a Russian political refugee whose speciality is to provoke. While he was still in Russia, he did such things as to set fire to the entrance of the ex-KGB headquarters, sew his lips shut (with really big thread, if you have seen the photos), and to top it off, nail his testicles to the paving stones in Red Square (for some reason, I have seen no photos of this). So this latest little thing is what we call pipi de chat in France (cat piss) compared to the other stuff. He says he has other videos to reveal. Bring it on!
It's interesting that a would-be politician -- a species that thrives on attention -- chose to make a narcissistic sex video, whether or not he thought about it becoming public.
I guess I can see where ex-mistress's current boyfriend's antics contained a political message, but they sound more neurotically close to the art of Chris Burden. I've never been able to see how any message these performances contain wouldn't be eclipsed by their shock value.
(and how do you nail anything, much less testicles, to paving stones?)
In just one week, we have the first round of the municipal elections, with some people saying that they should be delayed because of Covid-19. Whatever happens, it will always be fascinating to listen to everybody's excuses.
One interesting element is the fact that the incumbent always has a considerable advantage because most people like their mayor, both in big cities and small towns (villages are not allowed to have a political label). Many cities currently have a Socialist mayor, even though the party has sunk into oblivion since the presidential and European elections in recent years. It might prove that it is not dead yet since both Paris and Lille have socialist mayors who lead the polls for re-election. We'll see soon enough.
(Just for the record, I will be voting for our current Socialist mayor in Paris even though people say that she is a tough bitch, something that people would not say if she were a man. Women are not supposed to be tough, apparently.)
The term "tough bitch" can be a badge of honor. Tough bitches get things done (though I’m guessing that’s not a PC term).
It can be an issue here, where Theresa May, as Home Secretary, was called a"bloody difficult woman" by a ministerial colleague: but then, what she was being difficult about was some policies not only he but also plenty of women objected to. And her current successor is under fire for a series of allegations of bullying and belittling underlings, to the point where (unprecedentedly) the senior civil servant in her department has resigned and is suing the government. But in his case, not only is she pursuing some crackpot ideas, but he has presided over some disastrous failures of common sense and basic competence in the administration on May's policies. There's something about that department.
We have the first round of the municipal elections on Sunday. So far, they have requested that we bring our own black or blue ballpoint pens with us if possible for signing the voting register. (That is the only thing for which we need a pen -- there are no boxes to check on the ballots or anything.) On the news, though, they showed that most polling stations have bought thousands of Bic pens just in case, so if anybody needs a free pen, this is their moment. I hope they give the leftovers to the migrants although they probably don't need them since they do everything on their very sophisticated mobile phones. Maybe the schools can use them when they reopen.