Le Figaro reports that the Legion of Honor, France’s highest order of merit, will be conferred on London during France’s ‘year of de Gaulle’ in 2020, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of former president and French Resistance leader Charles de Gaulle. He lived in exile in the British capital during the Nazi occupation of France in the Second World War.
However, the revelation has received a far from warm welcome in France, with reactions ranging from wondering what on earth Macron is thinking, to what Napoleon – who started the Legion of Honor in 1802 – would make of such an award for his old foe.
“Macron would do well to reread the history of France,” one person posted online in response.
“The clearance sale of our Legion of Honor continues,” another said. “Mr Macron continues to destroy the French heritage.”
Another person wondered “is it April 1st already?”
The question as to who should get the honor seemed totally irrelevant to other people, who said the president should focus his attention on resolving the ongoing strikes against French pension reform, rather than such trivial matters.
“Is there nothing more serious and more urgent to deal with than getting up one morning and saying to yourself ‘what if I give the Legion of Honor to the City of London?’. For example, could he not speed up discussions on pension reform,” one said.
Macron has yet to reach a resolution with unions over the strikes, which began in early December against his government’s proposed overhaul of the French system. Unions have pledged to step up their protests, which have crippled the transport system for weeks already, in the New Year.