Report July 2015 (Les Guignols, Cattles breeders‘ protest)

Popular Satire Show Banned from Free-to-Air TV

France, 14 Jul – 10 Aug 2015

TV show ‘Les Guignols’: Are the buffoons being muzzled? ++ Hollande’s ideas for France and Europe flouted by opposition ++ Cattle breeders protest against low meat prices
by Matthieu Choblet

TV show Les Guignols: Are the buffoons being muzzled?

 The French TV sector is in turmoil: Tycoon Vincent Bolloré has announced that he will reshape the broadcaster Canal+, a part of his corporate empire. At the heart of the discussion stands the satirical TV show Les Guignols, meaning ‘the buffoons’. The spoof news bulletin features latex puppets with the faces and imitated voices of France’s elite. Every weekday night, for five minutes, the show slates and scores off French politicians and celebrities – much to the delight of a wide audience and to the anger of many a prominent figure. Some critics have even claimed that the show was responsible for an anti-establishment mood among young French.

„Report July 2015 (Les Guignols, Cattles breeders‘ protest)“ weiterlesen

Report May 2015 (FN, suffrage, Cuba)

National Front Patriarch Loses Grip

France, 20 Apr – 18 May 2015

Jean-Marie Le Pen loses power struggle against his daughter ++ A history of female suffrage ++ François Hollande visits Cuba.
by Matthieu Choblet

Jean-Marie Le Pen loses power struggle against his daughter

The executive bureau of the far-right party National Front (FN) suspended its honorary member Jean-Marie Le Pen. The decision was initiated by Marine Le Pen, daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen and current president of the FN, following a provocative interview given by her father. Le Pen, co-founder of the FN in 1972 and its uncontested leader until 2011 has repeatedly caught attention for the belittlement of the Holocaust. So far Marine Le Pen had narrowed her father’s racist and anti-Semitic remarks as mere “political errors”. However, the renewed claim that Holocaust was “a detail of history” was the last straw.

„Report May 2015 (FN, suffrage, Cuba)“ weiterlesen

Report March 2015 (Départementales, European budget rule)

Local Elections – Will the Far-Right Gain More Influence?

France, 23 Feb – 22 Mar 2015

Departmental elections put political system under stress ++ France granted two more years to comply with European budget rule ++ Tragic helicopter crash leaves ten dead ++ Alleged death of Bouygues’ CEO Martin Bouygues.
by Matthieu Choblet

Departmental elections put political system under stress

Time for elections again in France: The first round of the French departmental elections took place on Sunday 22nd March. Not for the first time in this legislative period, elections, usually considered second-rank, put France’s political system under stress and make the governmental majority shiver.
The reason for this isn’t new either. In the run-up to the elections, the far-right party National Front (FN) was set to win more votes than any other party in the first round of the elections according to polls.

So is FN-leader Marine Le Pen right to claim that her party is “more than ever, the balance point of political life in France”? At least, she has every reason to believe that many voters will choose to penalise the governing Socialist party (PS). Sure enough, the general councils governing the 101 French departments are not the place to decide on popular FN-issues such as leaving the euro zone or the Schengen agreement. The council’s main responsibility lays in the management of welfare allowances and basic education. Anyway, the elections offered the opportunity to grouch on the reform of the departments (see French Report November 2014/2), to make welfare promises and … to reject “Islamic proselytism” in kindergarten.

„Report March 2015 (Départementales, European budget rule)“ weiterlesen

Report December 2014 (Sarkozy, Shop openings and industry shut-downs, Anti-Semitism)

Restless Sarkozy: Re-elected Party Head Promises to Unwind the Socialist Presidency

France, 20 Nov – 19 Dec 2014

Sarkozy head of party again, Socialists and National Front on the defensive ++ Shop openings and industry shut-downs ++ Violence and anti-Semitism.
by Matthieu Choblet

Sarkozy head of party again, Socialists and National Front on the defensive

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was (re-)elected head of the opposition party UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) with 64.5 percent of the votes, besting two rival candidates. Over 50 percent of the 268,000 party members participated via Internet. “64 percent is not the triumphal return Sarkozy was hoping for”, grumbled a spokesperson of the governing Socialist Party (PS). And yet, one of the most notorious politicians of the last decade is back on top at France’s major right-wing party.

The UMP was founded in 2002 by Jacques Chirac, former nominee for the Presidential election, with the aim to create a single right-wing party uniting pro-Europeanists and conservative sovereignists. Thereafter, the UMP was the ruling party for ten years until it collapsed in 2012: after Sarkozy’s defeat at the Presidential elections and the loss of the parliamentary majority, the party faced severe financial problems and its leadership was divided by a row over Sarkozy’s succession.

„Report December 2014 (Sarkozy, Shop openings and industry shut-downs, Anti-Semitism)“ weiterlesen

Veröffentlichung: Die Finanzkrise in der Eurozone

Meine Dissertation Die Finanzkrise in der Eurozone – Ursache und Wirkung aus der Sicht der kritischen Politischen Ökonomie  wurde 2014 im Shaker Verlag veröffentlicht (ISBN: 978-3-8440-3106-5).

Die Finanzkrise zu überwinden setzt voraus, sie zu verstehen. So lassen sich mangelndes Verständnis für das Wesen der Krise und die relevanten Zusammenhänge politischer Ökonomie als Ursache für die Unfähigkeit ausmachen, mit ihr umzugehen.
Dieses Buch bietet eine Einführung in die Wissenschaft der Politischen Ökonomie. Es erklärt welche Entwicklungen der Finanzsektor im letzten Jahrzehnt durchlaufen hat und worin die Mängel der Währungsunion liegen. Dabei geht es auch um eine kritische Bewertung von vorherrschenden Deutungen und Diskursen.
Vor diesem Hintergrund werden relevante Ereignisse und wegweisende politische Entscheidungen im Rahmen der Finanzkrise von 2007 bis 2013 systematisch analysiert. Was bedeuten ESM und LTRO? Wie funktionieren der Fiskalpakt und die Anpassungsprogramme? Worin unterscheiden sich Finanzierungshilfen für Banken von denen, die an Staaten wie Griechenland und Irland gerichtet sind? Das Buch erklärt die Verträge und Mechanismen der Krisenpolitik in der Eurozone und zeigt auf, welche ökonomischen, rechtlichen und demokratisch-legitimatorischen Konsequenzen sie haben.

Report October 2014 (Nobel Prizes and Decline)

France a Nobel Laureate and yet in Decline?

France, 09 Oct – 22 Oct 2014

Government: „reforms are no courtesy, but simply the right thing“ ++ Nobel Prize surprise for Frenchmen ++ Right-wing intellectual in doubt about French virility.
by Matthieu Choblet

Government: „reforms are no courtesy, but simply the right thing“

The French government is pursuing its intention to implement decisive changes in the French economic and social framework. Its latest concerns: the unemployment insurance fund is in deficit of 3.8 bn. Euros in 2014 and the national budget is deep in the red as well, despite of renewed budget cuts. As a consequence, the European Commission is pressuring France to reduce its unemployment benefits. New Minister of the Economy Emmanuel Macron took this opportunity to announce a new reform, notwithstanding that the unemployment benefits were already overhauled in July this year. “No taboos!”, insisted Macron, who joined the government in August and plans to minimise the length and scope of the benefits.

„Report October 2014 (Nobel Prizes and Decline)“ weiterlesen

Report September 2014 (Government Reshuffle)

Ministers’ Rebellion leads to Government Reshuffle

France, 14 Aug – 10 Sep 2014

Government reshuffle in midst of ongoing political trouble ++ President’s ex publishes nasty accusations ++ Freed hostages identify their tormentor.
by Matthieu Choblet

Government reshuffle in midst of ongoing political trouble

French President François Hollande asked Prime Minister Manuel Valls to assemble a new government following the departure of three ministers, including the eloquent if somewhat insolent Arnaud Montebourg. Opinions defer on whether it was more of a resignation – as the official line goes – or if the ministers were actually forced to leave. In either way, the divide between the head of the executive and the three rebels or frondeurs as they are called in France had been obvious for a while and became even clearer in the last weeks.

“It is not possible to have a proper discussion with François Hollande anymore. Discussion with him are friendly, but useless” claims Montebourg in an interview recorded in June 2014 but only published now. The final brake up occured after Montebourg’s renewed criticism of the prevailing economic policies in the Eurozone. Indeed, Montebourg, who had swapped the sober title of Minister of the Economy for a shiny ‘Minister of Industrial Renewal’ is known for his decided leftist and interventionist stance.

„Report September 2014 (Government Reshuffle)“ weiterlesen

Report July 2014 (Strike at Avignon Arts Festival)

Workers on Strike at Avignon Arts Festival

France, 03 Jul – 16 Jul 2014

Start of Avignon arts festival delayed as arts workers dread benefit cut ++ Sarkozy against the red judge: Is France being “berlusconised”? ++ French football team returns home after quarterfinals.
by Matthieu Choblet

Start of Avignon arts festival delayed as arts workers dread benefit cuts

The famous Avignon arts festival, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year started one day late on Saturday 5th July in the court of the city’s medieval Palais des Papes. The delay was caused by a strike of the arts workers due to government plans to cut back their unemployment benefits. Since many of the arts workers struggle to find a regular occupation in between major festivals, they have little chance to make significant contributions to unemployment insurance. Therefore, they benefit from a particular government scheme for arts workers involving temporary occupation (called intermittent in French) – at least up to now.

„Report July 2014 (Strike at Avignon Arts Festival)“ weiterlesen