- The debt comparison figures are a bit dishonest (the situation within UE is more contrasted). Indeed the public spending is high in France, but this mainly corresponds to public services people are attached to. The margins for improvements are more in the “fonction publique territoriale” (local authorities) who have increased employment beyond reason, for clientelism purposes (which by the way give French people other good reasons to be suspicious about decentralization …). Apart from that, people work hard on the police, in the hospitals, in overcrowed school classes (I would not say the same of the enarques who quiely sleep in the ministries … )
- France has a long , long history as a nation , with strong centralized power. Think of it : Germany was united in 1871 only, and Italy in 1861 ! This is why (and I believe this was also a good explanation of the Brexit), “old” nations do not like to be dissolved into a federal structure, strange to their history
About Mr Macron, I do not want to enter into a political discussion, of little interest for a US reader. Mr Macron is a political UFO, his rise is impressive, but it is also fair to note that he benefitted from an incredible and massive press coverage. He has full support of the top level financial French establishment, and it helps ….