Posted on 29. May 2014
by Apollonia Khan
Since Sunday I can see hundreds of Facebook status’ on how unbelievably foolish – not to say plain stupid – French citizens have been. But is this appropriate? The fact that those results – great victory of the Front National and absolute debacle of the Socialist Party – were highly predictable shows two things: there is a social and identity crisis in France that politicians not alone fail to tackle but even tend to worsen. Furthermore, due to the lack of a political debate and struggle about concrete issues on a European level, people have the impression that everything is imposed from above.
Europe has indeed become more and more political over the years. However, the political conflict and debate in the public – in the sense of building clear, different, political projects – haven’t followed.
For instance, young people don’t think that the EU has any influence on national employment. On the contrary, they feel the EU is taking job opportunities away from them. This is where the Front National comes in. Ever since Marine Le Pen took over her father’s legacy, the main line has been focused on the European topic, arguing that France should leave the EU since it violated its national sovereignty and social model.
Considering the social tensions within the French society nowadays, la mayonnaise a pris*.
As the latest strategies have shown, pointing accusing fingers hasn’t worked, it even may have worked the other way around. Let‘s bear in mind that in a democracy, the one who succeeds in putting the majority on his side will never be the foolish one, even if he is wrong.
This article is a part of a series of reflections by young Europeans, prepared in cooperation between FutureLab and Süddeutsche Zeitung Online. To read the original click here.
*French expression that means that it worked well.