France Rocked with Protest

French protests continue to rock France, with marchers throwing Molotov cocktails and blocking fuel supplies.

The strikes have gained intensity as high school students have now joined the ruckus, even conveniently blocking access to their own schools according to the Los Angeles Times. What sacrifice they show.

Police and youth have clashed in a dozen cities reports the Independent, and the country has been forced to tap its crisis fuel supply says the New York Post.

Yet what’s most shocking about the strikes is the modest pension reform they are opposed to. The French government is merely increasing the age of retirement to 62 from 60, by 2018, which is nothing compared to the far harsher austerity measures people are protesting in places such as Greece and Spain.

Thus it’s probably less about the actual pension reforms and more about President Sarkozy’s political opposition inflaming general anti-government grievances. It’s hard to imagine how high school students understand the debt situation France faces.

Yet sadly, opposition politicians are playing with fire by egging on ignorance of France’s financial challenges, and thus a full blown crisis is likely the only way people will ever understand says the Financial Times: “It may need a genuine fiscal crisis finally to persuade the French that, as Margaret Thatcher once put it: ‘There is no alternative.’”

Source: Business Insider – Vincent Fernando, CFA


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