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The French - is it personal?

(153 Posts)
MawB Fri 23-Aug-19 09:25:03

Do the French just not like us?
Johnson seems to have got a much more sympathetic, dare I say, friendly reception from Angela Merkel recently than from President Macron.
Interesting, given that Macron once admitted that even France would “probably” have voted to leave the EU if given the chance: Marine Le Pen, his great antagonist, has talked about giving people that choice. Understandably, Macron needs to put people off this idea. So he must show that the EU does not bend when threatened and that countries who break away face isolation and political ruin.
Angela Merkel is more pragmatic. The Germans worry not just about the disruption, but about losing Britain to America’s diplomatic orbit – hence her suggestion that she is open to a better Brexit deal. Why lose jobs, or trade, if there is an alternative?
If there is to be any hope of avoiding a disastrous crashing out, I would pin my hopes on Merkel, rather than Macron.

growstuff Fri 23-Aug-19 09:40:11

From reading the French and German media, I don't think either of them will be shedding too many tears about Brexit.

I actually thought Macron was quite welcoming, especially considering the hype. I think it's in Mutti Merkel's character to appear welcoming and protective. When I watched the speech she made, Johnson just stood there looking like a chastised schoolboy and Merkel looked like and sounded like the headmistress in charge.

There's not a hope in hell he can come up with a solution to the Irish backstop issue, so goodness knows why he accepted the challenge so enthusiastically. I think he was taken by surprise, but I'm sure puppeteer Cummings will think of a way of twisting it to make it look like the EU is to blame.

Alima Fri 23-Aug-19 09:41:53

I think the French have a chip on their shoulder when it comes to Britain. Macron definitely seems to have his own agenda. Germany unusually has problems of its own regarding possible downturn. Their situation could be made worse if we do leave with no deal. Angela Merkel really does appear to be a real states person. (When it comes to being asked for reasons why I voted leave, this sort of thing is a perfect example of why. Being goaded by a pompous little French person and told what to do. No, I don’t have a link to back up what I say).

luluaugust Fri 23-Aug-19 09:41:57

I expect she felt free to make the offer knowing there isn't enough time to do anything.

growstuff Fri 23-Aug-19 09:44:24

MawB, I think you're falling for the UK press' take on this. The EU isn't on the verge of collapse and the threat that France would vote to leave the EU is very small. Macron is unpopular for reasons totally unconnected with being part of the EU.

growstuff Fri 23-Aug-19 09:44:24

MawB, I think you're falling for the UK press' take on this. The EU isn't on the verge of collapse and the threat that France would vote to leave the EU is very small. Macron is unpopular for reasons totally unconnected with being part of the EU.

growstuff Fri 23-Aug-19 09:45:51

I disagree with you absolutely and totally, Alima. Merkel is just about the most states(wo)manlike person on the current world stage.

growstuff Fri 23-Aug-19 09:46:27

How did Macron goad Johnson?

dragonfly46 Fri 23-Aug-19 09:52:47

I think it all goes back to the days of de Gaulle. We used to camp every year in Europe and would enter France at Boulogne. One year we were stopped at the first junction by the gendarmes and fined for not stopping at a stop sign even though we had stopped. They were waiting for the Brits from the boat.

The next year we entered France and were given a gift of Camembert, wine and other goodies. It all depended on how de Gaulle felt that particular year.
The French are quite fickle.

I rather like Angela Merkel and rather naively maybe but I
hope BJ can come up with something to ease Brexit.

If nothing else maybe we can all then get on together again and stop all this infighting.

JessK Fri 23-Aug-19 09:59:50

I got the impression Macron was being unhelpful as he spoke in French when he is fluent in English.

GrannyGravy13 Fri 23-Aug-19 10:00:56

I think Boris speaks French?

Davidhs Fri 23-Aug-19 10:01:16

There has always been a love hate relationship with the French they are even more nationalistic than we are, at the moment they think the national interest is in the E.U.

I don’t think the E.U. are going to move much on the deal, what I am hoping for is just enough face saving changes that will allow parliament to vote yes - but I’m not holding my breath.

Dinahmo Fri 23-Aug-19 10:01:19

Of course the French don't have a chip on their shoulder as regards the UK. They can't possibly because they are brought up believing that they are the best nation in the world.

Given our shared history going back 1000 years and our proximity to each other I'm constantly surprised at how different they are to us in many ways.

Right now they are bemused at what is happening in England. They feel sorry for us and are sympathetic towards the English residents here and the problems we are likely to experience if/when Brexit happens.

Marjgran Fri 23-Aug-19 10:09:09

I despair of the British not the French. I am in France for a short holiday, nothing but courtesy and incredulity about Brexit. Immaculate sand on a long sea beach, clean lakes, virtually no rubbish, yes I know this is not universally true in France and all these generalisations about “France” or “Germany” are so unhelpful and simplistic. The EU is complex structure but it offers us membership and allegiance in a troubled global world. I am horrified that we are isolating ourselves or about to throw our lot in with Trump for protection in difficulty and subject to his whims. Make dealing with Macron look easy!

Craftycat Fri 23-Aug-19 10:11:30

Yes Boris speaks fluent French & yes the French don't like us.
I speak reasonable French but have been ignored or told they cannot understand me in shops in Paris many times. Or maybe it is just the Parisiens?
I get the impression that a lot of French people wish they were getting out of EU too!

MawB Fri 23-Aug-19 10:13:22

No Growstuff , not falling for anything press-related. I have often felt that our much vaunted “friendship” with France is one-sided and that despite our 20th century wars with Germany, we and they are much closer in many respects.
I think Macron is on a fairly shaky footing within his own country - look at the gilets jaunes - and frankly doesn’t give a toss about the UK. Merkel is, I think, more aware of the bigger picture.

polnan Fri 23-Aug-19 10:13:45

I can just revert to history...

we did NOT vote for a political union, we , ie the British back in the 70`s or whenever, we voted for trade,, that is what we were asked that is what I voted for,,,, I did NOT vote for any EU political stuff.

crystaltipps Fri 23-Aug-19 10:14:49

I can’t believe that Macron is criticised for speaking French!!! Why shouldn’t Macron speak French in France fgs! Did Johnson speak French / German?
Maybe it’s the Brits who have a chip on their shoulder re France- after all they have better food, drink, roads weather, lovers.

Tricia55 Fri 23-Aug-19 10:22:39

De Gaulle, hated Britain, he never wanted us to join the Common Market. He held it against us because of the war.
I too thought Macron could have conversed in French but then again Merkel conversed in German.
The French people still honour our war dead, the cemeteries etc.
I say just get on with it.

MaizieD Fri 23-Aug-19 10:24:36

(When it comes to being asked for reasons why I voted leave, this sort of thing is a perfect example of why. Being goaded by a pompous little French person and told what to do.

I have to admire your courage for coming on here and saying this Alima! So we're going through this awful time of anger, hatred and deep division in the UK, facing severe economic damage and losing international respect, because some people don't like pompous little French people shock

I really thought people would have grown up a bit by now. I have voted Remain twice in my lifetime; the first time I was particularly influenced by the desire to put historic animosities behind us and work together with other European nations for a peaceful and secure future. But it seems that many of our UK citizens still judge intranational relationships at a playground level. It's very sad.

SillyNanny321 Fri 23-Aug-19 10:26:58

Something my Grandmother used to say comes to mind. She said that the Germans could never beat us in a fair fight & that the French could not win a fight without us.
Sometimes wonder what she would say to all this Brexit nonsense?

BusterTank Fri 23-Aug-19 10:28:23

Nobody likes the British , they only like what they can get from us . England has always been the one giving and the rest of the world taking . I lived in spain for 15 years , I wasn't entitled to dole money and if I didn't pay tax i couldn't use the health system . I'm afraid England is is own worst enemy .

Something70 Fri 23-Aug-19 10:28:32

"In May 1967, de Gaulle argued that Britain’s entry would only be possible when ‘this great people, so magnificently gifted with ability and courage, should be on their own behalf and for themselves achieve a profound economic and political transformation, which would allow them to join the Six Continentals’. Just one of the many reasons de Gaulle veto-ed GB (not UK) entry to the EEC. Ref: website

Something70 Fri 23-Aug-19 10:30:06

Q: Why are the roads and avenues in France lined with trees?

A: So that the Germans can march in the shade.

Ta dah!

Something70 Fri 23-Aug-19 10:35:04

Just trying to find the reference that states Germany is building up massive armaments - whereas UK has ... zilch! Even selling off steelworks in Scunthorpe to Turkey for Army pension pot. Turkish Army trained by US, btw. Turkish Army apparently best in world now.