Paris in trouble, then EU is in trouble

Turkey is getting ready for cross-border operations once again. However, the exact target still remains unknown. In my previous reports, I told you about the possibility that Turkey may face conflict with Greece either in the East Mediterranean. Considering the current situation in Europe, things might get out of control anytime and on a global scale. I think that France’s struggle with its immigrants has a special aspect that should be considered when conducting world affairs analysis. If you’re going to Paris for a conference or something, you should at least have some information about what’s happening in Paris right now.

A recent column* in Türkiye Newspaper by President of Altınbaş University, also one of the most distinguished foreign policy expert in Turkey, Prof. Dr. Çağrı Erhan, provided me with insight into the situation in Paris. I’d even like to share with you the analysis made by Professor Erhan by reinterpreting it in my own style.

Prof. Dr. Çağrı ERHAN says, “EU policies will reach nowhere unless Germany and France arrive at a consensus, which means Berlin-Paris consensus has become an “unwritten rule” that should be followed in every EU procedure, from accession of new member states to the amendment of institutional structure. Therefore, the future stability of EU strictly depends on the internal stability of France and Germany as well the cooperation between them.

EU member states are worried about the ‘gilets jaunes’ protests in France for a several reasons: First, if this trouble on streets is not brought under control in the quickest way possible, it may soon spread to Belgium and the Netherlands first, then to Germany and finally to other countries in Europe. As you may remember, protest movement that took place during the late 1960s comprised a worldwide escalation of social conflicts and sparked a broad movement in opposition to political repression all over the world including Germany and Italy. And today, French leaders fear that same thing might happen again.

It’s clear that people who are involved in street protests and riots under the pretext of financial struggles can tempt immigrants, who are also middle class and working poor, living in other European countries to start riots as well. Professor Erhan said, “Demonstrations carried out by thousands of high school and university students last week show that the problem ma escalate further unless Macro takes the necessary measures as immediate as possible”. He’s 100 percent right.

“Is this all about the EU Army?”

The second reason why EU member states are worried about the ‘gilets jaunes’ protests is the fact that France is getting economically more unstabilized may cause immigrant workers in France to face severe problems as well. In his column, Prof. Çağrı Erhan makes some spot-on points about the migrant population statistics. 12% of France population consists of people who were born in other countries. 20% of urban population and 40% of Paris population also are immigrants. Almost half of a 12-million French immigrant population comprises individuals who moved to France for work from other EU countries, including Portugal, Spain, Italy, UK, Poland, Romania and Hungary. If things in France take a turn for the worse these immigrants may want to return to their countries of origin, which can lead to new problems in those countries which are already economically fragile.

Another reason is that if the crisis in Paris continues, France’s relationship with its leading trading partners may get severely affected. If France can’t produce, it can’t export, if it can’t export, it can’t make money and if it can’t make money, it can’t import either. If this problem is not fixed anytime soon, losses that France and EU will incur might just not be recoverable.

The final reason may be the most delicate part of the matter: Macron’s removal from office or any possible major damage to his political powers will cause the idea of EU Army to vanish once and for all. It doesn’t take a genius to notice that the US and Russia have taken a break from conflicting with each other and right now they are showing great interest in France troubles.

It looks like 2019 will be a tough year not just for Turkey but for EU as well. As I’m on way to Paris, I’d like to thank Professor Erhan for shedding further light on the matter

  • “Fransa’nın Sarı Yeleklilerle imtihanı”, Çağrı ERHAN 09.12.2018 Türkiye Gazetesi