Guy Milliere has an excellent analysis over at the Hudson NY website. Milliere is a prof at the University of Paris and the author of numerous books on Europe, the Middle East and the USA. This is a must read.
Bitterness, resignation and absence of hope are the dominant emotions among the French population; surveys and statistical data confirm it. The unfortunate situation that pervades the rest of Europe suggests strongly that the French malaise is in tune with a much larger malaise that has infected the whole Continent.
The month-long strikes, demonstrations and riots that engulfed France from early October until a month later are gone, but the ills that erupted so visibly continue to fester beneath the surface, growing stronger as the principle actors of disruption prepare their encore.
There are no political alternatives here: in every European country, political parties fall into one of two camps: Protest Movements that foment and channel discontent and resentment though they have no chance to prevail in national elections; and Incumbent Establishment Parties that offer only statism, political interventionism, redistribution and stagnation. Even if an elected politician actually did try to move in an encouraging new direction, his efforts would be quickly squelched: Europe's key decisions are now made in technocratic and bureaucratic spheres where voters have no sway.....................