French politics: stasis and 'beautification'

This month marks the three-year anniversary of the election of (Socialist) President, François Hollande, the dominant mood here is a kind of blankness; the official unemployment rate, at 10.6 % (March) is the highest in 16 years and the GDP growth rate only 0.1 percent for the last quarter, but few expect anything to change. 

Living in France you become used to modest change and modest progress. What would be considered minor change elsewhere, for example, raising the official retirement age by a few years, or reducing the hours in a primary school day is seen to be threatening in France. 

Changes are made, certainly, but 'on the side': a 8-million euro beautification program that will transform areas along the Seine into pedestrian areas is announced - in an effort to reduce pollution - but the plan to reduce/ban diesel cars that made up 65 % of all French cars bought in the first six months of 2014, for instance, is slotted into a 2020 deadline. 

To recall the optimism that greeted the election of Hollande in 2012, have a look at this article I published in Online Opinion three years ago to the day, almost ... (and another on the French economy).