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When there is no news, create a fake news : the Aachen treaty case

It's a dog's life if you are regular. CR Shutterstock

It’s a dog’s life if you are regular. How can you catch the reader’s attention when you are not a cute little cat, or a star in a sexual scandal, or a bloody frightening murderer?

There seems to be a recipe: you create a scandal, and frighten people. Take the French-German Aachen treaty that will be signed on 22 January.

It has been discussed over a whole year between MPs from the two countries. Serious media have written about this important although slightly boring topic, and described how it was built step by step. In the end, it’s a light cooperation agreement, so it’s hard to get big headlines.

But before the treaty is signed, some strange and frightening news appear on social networks. France would be planning to give back two departments to Germany.  The website Résistance Républicaine, a fake news specialist from the extreme right was one of the first to publish a story .

With only very few, but shocking word: “Abomination! The reality is terrifying, tragic. Macron will make true Hitler’s dream with a France submitted to Germany and cut to pieces”. It’s hard to invent a bigger nonsense.

Then they advertised a video from MEP Bernard Monot. He was elected on a Front national ticket but has now joined another extreme right party called Wake Up France. He keeps repeating that Macron is surrendering Alsace and Moselle. By the way, the name of these departments doesn’t even appear in the Aachen treaty text. Monot also insists that this part of France will be ruled by Germany. The treaty only plans to build of a “comité de coopération transfrontalière”, to deal with common topics, as both countries already do in their common transborder eurodistrict.

Then the video of Bernard Monot was unpublished.

Two days later Marine Le Pen discovered this treaty-bashing buzz, and published a video where she calls Macron a traitor. She also rants about Germany, and said on TV that France was ready to share its UN Council seat.

France does agree to support Germany to obtain a seat in the UN in the framework of a wider reform of the world’s organisation. But it’s out of sheer diplomacy: there is no momentum for such a reform, and France has zero plans to share its precious seat.

In the end France and Germany have no other choice than publish the treaty, on Friday night, 4 days before when it would be signed. A couple of MPs published a communiqué underlining that Marine Le Pen lies.

She does lie. But it’s a key of success of politics nowadays.

It’s a dog’s life to be a voter.

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