France demands the release of imprisoned academics by Iran
The French Foreign Ministry calls on the Iranian ambassador to protest the
abduction of two French academics, one of whom has launched a hunger strike.
France demands that both academics, who have been imprisoned since June, be
released. The academics are accused of espionage and cooperation with foreign
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in France for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Hundreds of thousands demonstrate against pension reform
More than half a million people join demonstrations in various parts of the
country against the government's plans for comprehensive pension reform. This is
the third time large nationwide demonstrations are taking place. For almost two
weeks, France has been more or less paralyzed by the strikers' strikes. There
are still major problems for travelers and commuters with canceled trains, buses
and domestic flights. Several of the unions that strike, where left-wing CGT is
one of the hardest, have promised to continue over Christmas and into the new
year, unless the government backs off. Some more reform-oriented unions,
including the CFDT, recently joined the strike.
Center leader Bayrou is charged with corruption
Prosecution is brought against Francois Bayrou, party leader of the
Democratic Movement (Modem), for involvement in embezzlement of the European
Parliament's financial resources. The charge is part of an ongoing legal
investigation against Modem MEPs who should have used EU money to pay party
workers. The investigation was started in 2017, which resulted in Bayrou and two
other Modem ministers being forced to resign (see June 2017).
Prosecution has also been brought against Marielle De Sarnez, Modem's vice
Major strike against pension reform
The largest nationwide strike since the 1990s begins in protest of President
Macron's planned changes to the pension system. The general strike affects
several million transport workers, teachers, police and several other
occupational groups. Buses, trains and air travel have been canceled and the
Paris subway station is largely stationary. The schools are closed and the
burden on the hospitals is tough, as many doctors and nurses also strike.
Macron's reform is, among other things, about the introduction of a single
uniform scoring system (see Current policy). The plan has been met by harsh
criticism from trade union teams, which, among other things, mean that many in
the private sector will have to work considerably longer than the statutory
retirement age of 62 to receive a sufficient pension.
Macron about NATO: The alliance is brain dead
In an interview with British the Economist, President Emmanuel Macron
criticizes Nato for being a brain dead alliance. He thinks that an alarm clock
is needed for NATO to address difficult issues such as relations with Russia and
Turkey. He also points out that China and Russia are no longer to be seen as the
big enemies but that terrorism is the biggest threat. Macron is criticized for
his statement by both German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump
and by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Macron on state visit to China
During a state visit to China, President Emmanuel Macron agrees with
President Xi Jinping on trade deals worth around $ 15 billion. Macron's group
includes around thirty French business executives. The two presidents also make
a joint statement in support of the Paris Agreement on measures to stop climate
change. The statement comes after it became known that the US had requested to
leave the agreement.
Republicans appoint new leaders
The right-wing Republican elects Christian Jacob as new party leader. Jacob
is a 59-year-old former minister who leads the party in parliament. Former
leader Laurent Wauquiez resigned in June following the party's bottom line in
the EU elections in May.
France stops arms exports to Turkey
After Turkey's military offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia in
northeastern Syria, France decides to stop its arms exports to the country. This
is announced by France's defense and foreign ministers in a joint statement.
Four killed in the Paris police headquarters
An IT expert stabs four colleagues to death at police headquarters in central
Paris. The 45-year-old man is said to be a supporter of radical Islamism. He is
shot dead by a policeman in connection with the terrorist act. Two more people
were stabbed in connection with the attack, but they survive. In mid-October,
police arrested five people suspected of being linked to the dead perpetrator,
including an imam, classified as a security risk.
Macron wants more restrictive immigration policy
President Emmanuel Macron wants immigration policy to be tightened, he says
at a government meeting on what will be prioritized during the remainder of the
term. Macron explains that his party LREM needs to take a clearer position on
the issue of immigration, otherwise the party can be perceived as a party for
the well-ordered middle class that is closing its eyes to the problems that
exist. More than two-thirds of the French believe in a new opinion poll that
"there are too many foreigners in France" and that many immigrants do not make
enough effort to be integrated into society. In 2018, over 120,000 people
applied for asylum in the country.
Major strike in Paris against pension reform
Employees at the transport company RATP, which is responsible for commuter
trains, buses and the metro, carry out a major strike in Paris. Metro lines are
down and many bus trips and commuter trains are canceled. Transport workers
strike in protest against Emmanuel Macron's planned pension reform, which will
introduce a general pension system that will apply to everyone.
Meeting between Macron and Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin visits President Emmanuel Macron in the
summer house in the medieval fort of Brégançon. The meeting is a way for Macron
to maintain open contact with Moscow, despite growing tensions between Russia
and the western world. The two presidents expressed, among other things, their
hopes that the election of the new President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyj,
will be able to contribute to peace being achieved in the conflict between
Ukraine and Russia. As for the Syrian war, which President Macron also addresses
during the visit, the two leaders have different views. Macron criticizes the
Syrian regime's bomb attack on the Idlib region of northern Syria and wants to
establish a ceasefire. Putin, in turn, supports the Syrian regime's actions
against "terrorists" in Idlib.
Republican Party leaders are retiring
After the poor result of the European elections, when Republicans received
only 8.5 percent of the vote, party leader Laurent Wauquiez elects to leave
office. The party received 21 percent of the vote in the 2014 European
Success for Le Pen in the EU elections
Marine Le Pen's right-wing party National collection will be the largest
party in the European Parliament elections. The party wins with just over 23
percent of the vote and gets 22 seats. The party is part of the Parliamentary
Group of Nations and Freedoms (ENF). Despite the success of the National
Assembly, the party still backs slightly compared to the 2014 election.
President Macron's party The Republic of the Road (which is part of the
parliamentary group Alliance Liberals and Democrats for Europe ALDE & R),
together with the Democratic Movement (MoDem), ranks second with just over 22
percent of the vote. giving 21 seats. European Ecology - The Greens (EELV) come
in third place in the French EU elections with just over 13 percent and 12 seats
in the European Parliament group Green (EFA).
Fire in Notre-Dame
A fire breaks out in the famous medieval cathedral Notre-Dame, classified as
a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fire is capable of destroying the church's
93-meter high spire and parts of the timber roof from the 12th century before it
is under control. The main building must have managed to be totally destroyed as
well as the two bell towers on the north side of the cathedral. President
Emmanuel Macron promises that the cathedral will be restored.
Vandalization in protest of the Yellow West
For the 18th Saturday in a row, the Yellow West organizes another
demonstration in various parts of the country. In conjunction with the protests
in Paris, masked protesters smash shop windows on the Champs-Elysees parade
street, try to set fire to a bank and carry out other damage. However, the
number of participants in the demonstrations has decreased over the past
weekends and in Paris about 10,000 people gather, while about 4000 are estimated
to take part in the rest of the country.
Mass demonstration for the climate
About 45,000 people take part in a demonstration train for the climate in
Paris. The protesters are protesting that the French government is not
considered doing enough to protect the climate.
Anti-Semitic magazine gets the Twitter account revoked
The right-wing extremist magazine Rivarol is no longer allowed to operate on
Twitter because it has been circulating anti-Semitic statements for a long time.
The government's special bodies against racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination
have repeatedly reported on the problems of the media platform. The incident
coincides with an anti-Semitic wave in the country, which has the largest Jewish
population in Europe. According to official data, the number of police reports
for anti-Semitic crimes has increased sharply compared to a year ago - the
increase is as much as 74 percent.
End of the conflict between Italy and France
The diplomatic quarrel between Italy and France comes to an end after a
telephone conversation between Italy's President Sergio Mattarella and France's
President Emmanuel Macron. Shortly thereafter, France sends back its ambassador
to Rome. At the same time, Mattarella receives an invitation to meet Macron in
Paris. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio's party The five-star
movement is also openly refraining from cooperating with the French protest
movement, the Yellow West, which is believed to be propagating violence.
The ambassador in Italy is called home
According to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French ambassador to
Italy is called home for "consultations" after the Italian Second Deputy Prime
Minister Luigi Di Maio met with members of the Yellow West. The French
Government considers that Di Maio, as representative of the Italian Government,
has interfered in France's "internal affairs". Di Maio defends the meeting that
his party The Five Star Movement has the right to form alliances with French
parties in the same way that President Macron's Party En Marche can cooperate
with the center-left opposition in Italy. Since the right-wing government's
entry last year, relations between Italy and France have deteriorated.
Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Di Maio meets the Yellow West
Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Di Maio and a group from his party The Five
Star Movement meet representatives of the Yellow West in Paris. According to a
party statement, a meeting is held with Christophe Chalencon and Ingrid
Levavasseur, both of whom are leaders in the sprawling movement. Together,
according to Di Maio, it has been discussed to form a possible alliance for the
European elections in May. Levavasseur has announced that she will be running
for election (see January 2019).
Armenian Genocide Memorial Day
President Macron announces that France is preparing for a national
commemoration day for the Armenian genocide. He thus fulfills an election
promise. The date of the annual memorial day will be April 24. France, which
houses a large group of Armenians, recognized the events of the Ottoman Empire
during the First World War in 2001 as a genocide. Turkey, which believes it was
not a genocide Armenian was exposed to, responds with a sharp condemnation.
Red scarves want to stop yellow vests
About 10,000 followers of a group calling themselves the "Red Scarf" organize
a demonstration in protest of the Yellow West and their methods. They are tired
of roadblocks, children who are prevented from going to school and the
destruction of buildings and shops. On Facebook, the Red Scarf has over 21,000
sympathizers. At the same time, 69,000 followers of the Yellow West perform for
the eleventh Saturday in a series of protest demonstrations in many parts of the
country. A split is evident in the movement, where some members want to continue
the protests while another falang wants to move on to act politically. Recently,
a 31-year-old single mother of two children, Ingrid Levavasseur, has stated that
she will represent the Yellow West in the upcoming European elections.
Diplomatic quarrel between Italy and France
The French Foreign Ministry calls on Italy's ambassador in protest against
Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio urging the EU to impose sanctions on
France for "its colonial policies in Africa". Relations between the countries
have become worse since the Lega and Five Star Movement formed government in
Italy. The migration issue in particular has caused problems. France has
criticized the Italian government for not accepting rescue vessels with migrants
and the Italian government has in turn criticized the French for sending
migrants back to Italy. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has called
Emmanuel Macron a "terrible president" and, along with di Maio, has shown strong
support for the French protest movement "The Yellow West".
New friendship agreement with Germany
President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel sign a new
friendship agreement in the German city of Aachen. The new Aachen Agreement is
an update to the Élysée Treaty, signed 56 years ago by French President Charles
de Gaulle and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. The Elysées Treaty highlighted
the importance of cooperation between the two countries that have so often been
bitter enemies and war against each other. The Aachen Agreement will further
deepen relations between the countries and lead to increased cooperation in a
number of areas such as defense and security policy, business and research,
infrastructure and more.
Macron launches "major national debate"
After the Yellow West held new protests for the ninth Saturday in a row in
several cities, while the number of protesters again increased, Macron promises
to seek the French's views in a public consultation. The national debate will
cover 35 different issues, including immigration, environmental issues,
democracy and taxation, and will take place between January 15 and March 15.
Macron's hope is that the initiative will end the protests.
Protesters attack the Interior Ministry
The Yellow West is once again holding demonstrations in various parts of the
country. About 50,000 people are reported to be attending. Protesters try to get
into the Paris Ministry of the Interior with the help of a forklift and a
government spokesman is forced to flee through a back door.