🎊The Weekly Dispatch - New Year, Same France!
1 January 2023 - The Constitutional Council validates the 2023 Finance Bill, Quatennens return divides his allies, Macron called to protect Armenians, and the Parti Socialiste fights over its exiles
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⚖️The Constitutional Council validates the 2023 Finance Bill
⚖️The Constitutional Council validates the 2023 Finance Bill
Some good news popped up, even if it was a formality, which will bring a little peace to the minds of all French citizens as well as our European allies: The Constitutional Council has validated the 2023 Finance bill.
This means that things such as the €11 Billion “electricity buffer”, replacing the tariff shield today, will help to protect households, communities and businesses from rising energy prices caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and will be able to go ahead. This is accompanied by a fuel allowance of €100 for workers reliant on their vehicles.
Housing tax will be completely abolished for all french people as a result of this new budget, and alongside a huge investment of €6.7 billion to bring France back to full employment, there are big moves being made to support French citizens who have been struggling financially in recent years.
For public services, the benefits are numerous:
The Ministry of Justice will see it’s resources increase by 8%, partly to help fund efforts to reduce the delay in judgements and to train new staff;
The Ministry of the Interior will see a budget increase of €1.4 billion, intended to increase the presence of security forces across society but also on highways, and to help strengthen internal matters
The “Defence Mission” is seeing its budget increased by €3 billion
The National Education Budget is being increased by €3.7 billion, with one of the major intentions being to guarantee that no teacher earns less than €2,000 net, and representing an average salary increase of 10% across the sector for the 2023 school year
Local authorities and public services are seeing an increase in the General Operating Grant of €320 million, allowing 95% of municipalities to see their funding increase or stabilise, and allowing them to continue their own investments.
Last, but not least, the budget reaffirmed the priority given to the ecological transition, setting up a €2 billion green fund to accelerate the ecological transition, render public transport more green, and reinforce the national strategy for biodiversity.
💨Adrien Quatennens return divides his allies
Quatennens has had an incredible fall from grace in 2022, following the strong result that La France Insoumise managed in both elections, as well as in the creation of the NUPES coalition that increased Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s power over the left.
Convicted for violence against his wife, and having hidden from the limelight for months now in an attempt to wait out the damage, a potential return to front-line politics is tempting the deputy, and will pose a major challenge for both him and LFI.
One of the most difficult problems for him and his colleagues is the aggressive reaction from militants, with a letter being published by over 1000 “feminist” LFI militants who called for Quattenens’ exclusion from the party.
Talking about the “silence, consternation, then explosion of anger” that led to a “veritable tsunami” of disgust, they highlight that Adrien Quatennens was allowed to re-join the LFI group “without transparency or democratic consultation”, a criticism being levied more and more by even it’s deputies, after the leadership decisions.
One of the interesting reactions to their protest, however, and perhaps the most menacing, is the fact that these militants feel the need to call out authoritarian behaviour coming from party HQ:
“Finally, we denounce the attempts at intimidation, harassment and exclusion from the communication channels of our comrades by head office employees, members of the coordination or relatives of elected officials.”
Unfortunately for these militants, the increasingly heavy-handed and authoritarian attitude of their party may mean that their calls will fall on deaf ears, and may even lead to some reprisals.
However, it should be noted that their commitment to fighting the right fights over this is commendable and should be praised, and that they are doing the right thing in this situation by fighting for the values of their party, and for the values that, in many ways, should be standardised across all of our political parties.
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🇦🇲Emmanuel Macron called to protect Armenians
Another tough situation is building up which requires the attention of the French President, this time coming from the Caucasus as the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
In an end-of-year call to action in Le Monde, Eric Ciotti (Les Républicains), Olivier Faure (Parit Socialiste), Fabien Roussel (Parti Communiste) and other French politicians wrote a letter asking for Emmanuel Macron to take action to assure the security of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, and as Georges Clemenceau said, “Armenia, our valiant little ally” itself.
Since the most-recent ceasefire, which was broken by the attacks in September 2022 and the occupation of Armenian territory since there has been an increasingly uneasy situation that was punctuated by a brief diplomatic success, led by Macron at the meeting of the European Political Community.
However, things are getting more and more uneasy, with accusations from both sides, an insecure Russian failures as it attempts to regain some control and prestige from the situation, and the Azerbaijani blockade preventing any movement to or from Nagorno-Karabakh from the Armenian side via the Lachin Corridor.
Accusations of a forced “depopulation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region” are starting to draw concern from the west, and in particular, in France where we have a long relationship with Armenia, and many historical personalities who connected the two countries, such as one of my favourite singers, Charles Aznavour.
Unfortunately, the reality is that we will be likely to see more tension occurring in the short-term before a solution is found in the mid-to-long-term, due to an increasingly weak and confused Russian state, increasingly desperate regional actors, and a Turkish state looking to reinforce it’s position as a dominant regional actor.
🌹The Parti Socialiste fights to recall its exiles
As a final note, there are some more important moves coming from the Socialists, which may lead to some very big problems for pro-NUPES first secretary, Olivier Faure, who is fighting for his political future.
Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, one of the primary candidates hoping to wrest control of the party from the far-left during the Parti Socialiste Congress on January 12, is making waves as he demanded that the 79 dissident candidates from the legislative elections be reinstated as members for the congress so that they may vote.
A demand that is very likely to be rejected by Faure, who is clinging to power after a divisive year, and is very likely to lead to the results of the congress being contested if they do not go against Faure, there is major pressure building within the party.
Mayer Rossignol, for his part, denounced an "abusive procedure when, almost six months after being taken, the suspended comrades have, for the most part, not received a summons from the competent disciplinary commission”
However, problematically, the motion has been presented twice already to the national council, and none of them have yet gone to vote, giving the impression that Faure has been entirely subjugated to Jean-Luc Mélenchon whose only goal is to consolidate his control over the left.
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