France and Germany are known to be extremely close allies, with the French President having a close friendship with former German Chancellor and European Union figurehead Angela Merkel. But Emmanuel Macron is coming under increasing pressure and faces a huge fight to win a second term as French President. During his presidency, he has sparked the fury of millions of people in France over controversial policy plans, sparking violence on French streets in the form of the Yellow Vest protests.
Most recently, Mr Macron infuriated those without a Covid vaccine in France, after warning he intends to “p*** off” those who are still refusing to get a jab with new restrictions.
Earlier this week, France also took over the revolving presidency of the European Council for the first time in 14 years.
But Christoph B. Schiltz, a journalist for German daily newspaper Welt, warned: “There is a great danger that the French President will try to use the European agenda for his election campaign on a massive scale. In particular, he will want to score with a bombshell.
“France has big plans for Europe. Paris will chair the EU governments (EU Council Presidency) until the end of June.
“The motto is: ‘Recovery, power, Belonging’. Will French President Emmanuel Macron bring a breath of fresh air to the musty Brussels engine room?
“At least that’s his plan. Macron: ‘The year 2022 must be a turning point for Europe’.
The Welt journalist added: “The Frenchman only has three months to do this though. In April there will be presidential elections in France, by then Macron has to deliver.
“His re-election is far from certain. Macron wants to change that with a fireworks display of European initiatives and several EU special summits.
“‘The French are receptive to international politicians coming to France, and to France having something to say on international issues,’ says French political scientist Claire Demesmay.
“It would certainly have been better to postpone the French presidency because of the upcoming elections.
“Until the end of March, the following applies: Macron is a risk for Europe, because the risk that he will try to use the European agenda on a massive scale for his election campaign is considerable.”
The furious attack against the French President comes as his Government plans for a vaccine pass to curb the spread of the Omicron variant approved in what could be seen as the latest war against the unvaccinated in the country.
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Ministers in the lower house of the French parliament passed draft legislation including the vaccine pass by a margin of 214 to 93.
The legislation will now go to the Senate before a concluding vote in the National Assembly and should it proceed through there, the vaccine pass will apply to over 16s and not over 12s as the French Government had originally pushed for.
The French would therefore be required to show proof of a full course of vaccination against Covid in order to enjoy basic aspects of life such as inter-city train travel, attending cultural events or eating out.
Earlier this week, Mr Macron sparked outrage after claiming he wanted to make the lives of those refusing a vaccine so complicated by squeezing them out of public places that they would end up getting jabbed.
He told old Le Parisien newspaper: “The unvaccinated, I really want to p*** them off. And so, we’re going to continue doing so, until the end. That’s the strategy.”
In his interview, Mr Macron used the term “emmerder” to express how he wanted to stir up the unvaccinated.
The expression “emmerder”, from “merde”, that can also be translated as “to get on their nerves”, is considered “very informal” by French dictionary Larousse.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.