Green presidential candidate Eva Joly said she would like to replace the traditional military parade held every July 14 in Paris with a “citizens’ parade.” Her remarks unleashed a storm of criticism, especially on the right.

"/> Green presidential candidate Eva Joly said she would like to replace the traditional military parade held every July 14 in Paris with a “citizens’ parade.” Her remarks unleashed a storm of criticism, especially on the right.

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POLITICS

Joly wants to end Bastille Day military parade

Green presidential candidate Eva Joly said she would like to replace the traditional military parade held every July 14 in Paris with a “citizens’ parade.” Her remarks unleashed a storm of criticism, especially on the right.

Joly wants to end Bastille Day military parade
Marie-Lan Nguyen

“I have a dream of replacing this parade with a citizens’ parade where we would see school children, college students and seniors filing past, happy to be together and celebrating the values that bind us,” Joly said on Thursday while a column of tanks and other armoured vehicles rolled past Bastille Square.

The Norwegian-born former magistrate who earned a reputation in the 1990s as a tough investigator during the Elf scandal made her remarks in front of a gathering of union groups, politicians and former resistance fighters.

“These are not the values we share. I think the time has come to cancel these July 14 military parades because they belong to another time,“ she added, lambasting what she called “a warlike France.“

The criticism of her remarks was fast and furious. Parliamentarian Jacques Myard, a member of the conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), called the idea of a citizens’ parade ridiculous.

“She forgets that a country is also made up of its army,” he told Europe 1. “They should have the right to be recognized through a parade, which is an important symbol of the link between the people and the armed forces.”

Marc Laffineur, state secretary for veterans’ affairs, said he was “shocked” by Joly’s suggestion, adding that her idea was especially unfortunate just after six French soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan.

“The parade on July 14th pays homage to all the effort and the sacrifices made by our soldiers,” he said.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen of the National Front called Joly’s recommendations “absolutely appalling,“ casting doubt on her “Frenchness“ and the legitimacy of her run for the presidency.

“I don’t think it’s legitimate to run for the presidency of the Republic when one has become French rather belatedly and when, just a few months ago, one was providing advice to the Norwegian government.“

Joly was born Gro Eva Farseth in Oslo in 1943 and came to the France at the age of 20 as an au pair. She married the son of the family that employed her and later became an investigating judge.

Even those on the left side of the political spectrum kept their distance from Joly’s remarks. Martine Aubry and Ségolène Royal, both running in the socialist party primaries, said the military parade tradition should be upheld.

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POLITICS

Income tax, property grants and cigarettes: What’s in France’s 2023 budget?

France's finance minister has unveiled the government's financial plans for the next year, and says that his overall aim is to 'protect' households in France from inflation and rises in the cost of living - here's what he announced.

Income tax, property grants and cigarettes: What's in France's 2023 budget?

The 2023 Budget was formally presented to the Council of Ministers on Monday, before economy minister Bruno Le Maire announced the main details to the press. 

The budget must now be debated in parliament, and more details on certain packages will be revealed in the coming days, but here is the overview;

Inflation – two of the biggest measures to protect households from the rising cost of living had already been announced – gas and electricity prices will remain capped in 2023, albeit at the higher rate of 15 percent, while low-income households will get a €100-200 grant. The energy price cap is expected to cost the government €45 billion in 2023.

EXPLAINED: What your French energy bills will look like in 2023

Property renovations – the MaPrimeRenov scheme, which gives grants to householders for works that make their homes more energy-efficient, will be extended again into 2023, with a budget of €2.5 billion to distribute.

Income tax – the income tax scale will be indexed to inflation in 2023, so that workers who get a pay increase to cope with the rising cost of living don’t find themselves paying more income tax. “Disposable income after tax will remain the same for all households even if their salary increases,” reads the 2023 Budget.

Pay rises –  pay will increase for teachers, judges and other civil servants as inflation is forecast to reach 4.3 percent next year after 5.4 percent in 2022. Around €140 million is assigned to increase the salaries of non-teaching staff in schools. 

New jobs – nearly 11,000 more public employees will be hired, in a stark reversal of President Emmanuel Macron’s 2017 campaign promise to slash 120,000 public-sector jobs – 2,000 of these jobs will be in teaching. 

Small business help – firms with fewer than 10 employees and a turnover of less than €2 million will also benefit from the 15 percent price cap on energy bills in 2023. The finance ministry will put in place a simplified process for small businesses to claim this aid. In total €3 billion is available to help small businesses that are suffering because of rising costs. 

Refugees – In the context of the war in Ukraine, the government plans to finance 5,900 accommodation places for refugees and asylum seekers in various reception and emergency accommodation centres. The budget provides for a 6 percent increase in the “immigration, asylum and integration” budget.

Cigarettes – prime minister Elisabeth Borne had already announced that the price of cigarettes will rise “in line with inflation”.

Ministries – Le Maire also announced the budget allocation for the various ministries. The Labour ministry is the big winner with an increase of 42.8 percent compared to last year, coupled with the goal to reach full employment by 2027. Education gets an increase of €60.2 billion (or 6.5 percent more than in 2022), much of which will go on increasing teachers’ salaries, while the justice and environment ministries will also see increased budgets.

Conversely, there was a fall in spending for the finance ministry itself.

Borrowing –  the government will borrow a record €270 billion next year in order to finance the budget. “This is not a restrictive budget, nor an easy one – it’s a responsible and protective budget at a time of great uncertainties,” said Le Maire. 

The government is tabling on growth of one percent, a forecast Le Maire defended as “credible and pro-active” despite an estimate of just 0.5 percent GDP growth by the Bank of France, and 0.6 percent from economists at the OECD.

The public deficit is expected to reach five percent of GDP, as the EU has suspended the rules limiting deficit spending to three percent of GDP because of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Parliament

The budget plans now need to be debated in parliament where they are likely to face fierce opposition. Emmanuel Macron’s centrist LREM party and its allies lost their majority in elections earlier this year.

Macron also plans to push ahead with a pension reform that would gradually start pushing up the official retirement age from 62 currently, setting up a standoff with unions and left-wing opposition parties.

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