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Discussing carpets? Brigitte Macron and Melania Trump. Wikipedia
Paris

Macron and his wife discuss decorations with media while country burns

Between the first two Saturdays of massive demonstrations by the Yellow Vests, Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron were redecorating their palace. They invited guests to the new "dialogue space" from which the Yellow Vests were conspicuously absent.

Published: December 7, 2018, 9:28 am

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    On November 22, reporters from the newspaper Le Monde arrived to praise the renovation work on the Festival Hall of the Elysée Palace, “a dialogue space “. None of the hundreds of thousands of Yellow Vests were present to participate in the dialogue.

    It appears that extremely unpopular taxes on fuel or the state of French democracy come second when wallpapers need to be redone.

    Thus, while the media and the public had their eyes riveted on the masses of Yellow Vests waiting to know how their elected leader was going to address the matter, Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron received France’s distiguished newspaper journalists from Le Monde to speak about… decorations.

    The presidential couple had officially started renovating the hall of the palace and they thought the media should rather take a lively interest in the nuances of grandiose furnishing accents.

    The head of state in person, the media was told, “supervised himself, from Thursday, November 22,” the launch of the renovation site. The work is scheduled to be completed before January 15 and would cost some 600 000 euros, of which 300 000 was just for… the carpet.

    An it must be noted that the expensive carpet does not come from Saint-Maclou: “Made up of two tons of wool, it was dyed in Belgium and woven at the Royal Manufacture of Aubusson Park,” readers learned, while protesters were busy massing around France, rising up against Macron.

    Over the past three weeks, hundreds of people have been wounded and a number killed in ongoing anti-government protests as the presidential couple flipped through style files.

    At least 75 fuelling stations have had to close as a result of blockades at major depots. If protests don not end soon, according to officials more fuelling stations will be affected. On Monday French energy giant Total said Yellow Vest protesters continue to block 11 major fuel depots.

    French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned that protests in the capital were crippling the economy. “The impact on the French economy was serious,” said Le Maire, noting that some sectors reported a decline in sales of up to 25 percent.

    Macron’s popularity has fallen to a new low of 18 percent and according to BFMTV’s parliamentary source, leftwing parties will discuss a vote of no-confidence in the government.

    The executive couple leads the government in unpopularity, with only 17 percent (-3) favorable opinions on their actions and 77 percent (+6) of contrary opinions. French respondents consider in particular that the executive “badly” managed the economy.

    While the popularity rating of Macron is down 3 points in one month, that of Édouard Philippe fell to 21 percent, to reach its lowest level since taking office, according to a survey by YouGov out on Thursday.

    In response, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe promised 8 000 additional officers in Paris and 89 000 nationwide to be deployed on December 8, including “a dozen armored vehicles”.

    Curiously, an ostensibly American newspaper has been calling for the French President to defend “international interests” from an elected American President.

    “What does seem likely, unfortunately, is the weakening of one of the relatively few European leaders still standing firmly behind internationalist principles. Mr. Macron has been a leading voice for measures to control climate change, and has tried to defend multilateralism from the assaults of President Trump,” The Washington Post lamented.

    “While there’s no clear road map, retreating from needed reforms is not the solution,” the US newspaper continued.

    The decorating couple have previously had other international supporters too: The Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn, praised the “hope” and “unity” they represent.

    Paris’s Eiffel Tower and a number of other monuments will be closed on Saturday due to renewed Yellow Vest protests. The Eiffel Tower Operating Company (SETE) “has made the decision to close the Eiffel Tower” according to French radio station Europe1.

    Other tourist attractions will also be closed, including the Grand Palais museum, the Arc de Triomphe as well as a number of metro stations, according to Le Figaro.

    The National Opera said in a statement that the Opera Bastille and Palais Garnier “will be closed and all public activities are cancelled”.

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