Saturday, October 16, 2010

France en Greve

I am watching the political situation in France with great interest. It seems many of the countries in Europe are facing similar issues, as costs and budgets balloon. Forget our own economy for the moment, let's just stick to France~
Today, Saturday, there were protests across France. It's in their blood; now as centuries ago, the French people take to the streets when they have a strong opinion.
The biggest issue is the proposal to raise the retirement age, from 60 to 62 and from 65 to 67 for full government pension. Poor Sarko, it's tough being le, the protest in Lille~
There were estimates of 2.5 - 3 million people protesting across France today, the fifth such day of protests.
Getting around Paris on foot or bike is not much of an issue when there is a transportation strike, and transport is generally the first area of the economy to manifest. The inconvenience comes when you are traveling internationally. The refineries have cut off the supply of jet fuel to Charles de Gaulle (Roissy), and there are now 3 days of jet fuel left.
The French find a way to adapt. For the planes, they are advising flights from abroad to "bring enough fuel with you for your return flight." Bienvenue en France. I was in Paris in '95 when we had three weeks of strikes; it was comical yet phenomenal.
The government caved in then, as they will likely do now. But I would not underestimate Sarko. We'll see what this week brings.

Photos from and and my French scrapbook.


  1. Andrea,

    I wondered what you would think about the situation.

    Love the little eifel towers, have always wanted one for my desk!

    Art by Karena

  2. Oh, I know about the strikes, one was on when I was there and a smaller protest at the corner of my hotel street (where I got a great police barrier photo) and I was fascinated to learn how important these strikes are to the French people and their history. Maybe we should do a bit more of that here, the Canadians are so polite when it comes to any political or policy changes. Let me know about my goodies you picked up for me Andrea.

  3. i live in lille and have done for the past 10 years; before arriving in france from the uk i thought 'the french' to be a no nonsense revolutionary people. i no longer believe this to be true. for sure there are certain issues i.e retirement, 35 hour week etc which rouse the average french person; however, generally they are apathetic and submissive bowing under rules and regulations and excess paperwork, a legacy from Napoleonic times. i have many lovely french friends and have steered clear of the expat circle yet cannot help but find the french a tad lazy and massively uncreative. the entreprenerial(?) spirit has been crushed out of them...

  4. Forget the U.S. economy? Heheh! We need to be out there instead of pathetically accepting the status quo. Apathetic to the limit, in my opinion. High taxes for the middle class, disappearing programs for the poor, and no taxes for the rich. And Americans complain about Europe's monarchies. What nonsense! I have family in England and they will speak up, too. Remember the poll tax marches!

  5. Hopflower, I join in your sentiment. Why do we stand for this? But can you imagine the people in the U.S. mobilizing by the millions? We don't do it, why? Linda, love your comments & I'm off to visit you now. I agree the fonctionnaire attitude is alive & well in France, and the whole system is geared for "getting on the program" as opposed to entrepreneurship. But their hot buttons like retraite and 35 heures are SO hot they are almost nuclear. Fascinating...

  6. With the advancements in healthcare people are just living longer. There is no way a government can continue to support people for possibly 30 to 40 years.