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Macron has two months to save Olympics - ANALYSIS

30 May 2024 [18:11] - TODAY.AZ
By Leyla Tarverdiyeva,

"Oh, sport! You are the world!" - Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, once said. French President Emmanuel Macron also wants to follow this principle, proclaimed by his great compatriot. In April, in an interview with French media, he said that he would work on the Olympic truce, and hoped that “during the Olympic Games in Paris, hostilities in the Russian war against Ukraine, as well as in other military conflicts, in particular in the Middle East, will cease and in Sudan." Macron promised to “do everything possible to get an Olympic truce” during the Paris Games.

Macron has no authority or influence on the world stage. All he succeeds in doing is to fish in troubled waters in other states and making life difficult for those he doesn’t like. Realizing that the “Olympic truce” was beyond his means, he turned for help to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who visited Paris in early May. Macron, who does not enjoy authority among other countries, hoped to achieve what he wanted through the hands of Beijing or, if all else fails, to at least show off as a peacemaker. But nothing worked out either there or here. A couple of days ago, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Macron’s initiative “dead history.” Russia also shrugged their shoulders and stated that they had not received any official proposals from France for a truce during the Olympic Games. There is no need to talk about Macron’s ability to somehow influence what is happening in the Middle East.

While Emmanuel Macron was working on world peace, it turned out that there were big problems with peace within his own state. In addition to permanent protests in mainland France, the situation in New Caledonia, provoked by the illegal actions of the French authorities in Paris, got out of the control of Paris. Wanting to show who is boss, Macron himself went to the rebellious islands, hoping to use the power of his authority to put pressure on the protesters and stop the unrest. But, as we have already noted, the authority of Emmanuel Macron has no strength, and the situation rests only on the strength of the police and the army that flooded New Caledonia. Today, the state of emergency there has been lifted, but the situation has not become calmer.

The Olympic torch relay will not take place in Caledonia - the symbolic torch will not arrive there. Meanwhile, two months remain until the XXXIII Summer Olympic Games in Paris. But there are a lot of problems, and they are unlikely to be resolved within this period.

Let's start with the river. Back in 1923, Paris authorities banned swimming in the Seine due to extremely high levels of pollution and a large number of pathogens. In the 80s of the last century, the then mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac, undertook to clean up the river, but did not achieve much success, since the Seine had been a dumping ground for sewage for many centuries. Cleaning the river requires huge costs and therefore has never been a priority. So far, Macron has not managed to get the right to host the 2024 Olympics.

In April, the independent environmental organization Surfrider Foundation conducted a study and found the water quality in the Seine to be inappropriate for swimming. Of the 14 water samples taken, 13 showed high levels of E. coli and other bacteria. The Sena's condition has already caused the cancellation of sporting events. So, in August last year, the International Swimming Federation was forced to cancel the open water World Cup in Paris. The French side hastened to explain this by heavy rains. Although the problem was the unsanitary condition of the river. When Paris was chosen as the capital of the 2024 Olympics, 1.4 billion euros were allocated for a river cleanup project in preparation for the Games. However, April water monitoring showed that the funds were wasted or for other purposes.

Earlier, President Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo promised to swim in the Seine to prove the purity of the water. Now Parisians are waiting to see if the promise will be fulfilled. 

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