Tuesday, 20 June 2017

French developments

There is a summary by France24 of the outcome of the French elections which concluded last Sunday. It seems from this side of the channel that president Macron and his LREM party might loosely be described as economic liberals, while his junior partners in the National Assembly, the Democratic Movement, have travelled from centrist conservatism to social liberalism.

I cannot remember a larger majority for change in the Assembly. There seems little doubt that president Macron and his prime minister Edouard Philippe will be able to put through measures to liberalise the French economy. However, the history of the Fifth Republic is studded with instances of extra-parliamentary forces snookering the will of parliament. Expect strong resistance from the trade unions, who will no doubt claim that, because the turn-out in both halves of the parliamentary election was so low, Philippe has no mandate.

Both party leaders are committed Europeans. One can therefore expect a stiffening of the EU27's tough line in the Brexit negotiations which have just opened. Moreover, if Macron succeeds in reducing business overheads, one may expect the French entrepreneurs who migrated to south-east England to benefit from our better business climate to consider returning. So what may be good for the French is not necessarily good for the UK.

[Later] It is not going to be plain sailing for the LREM/MoDem coalition. One of its stated aims of cleaning up the administration has been struck a blow by the allegations of misuse of MoDem party funds which have led to the resignation of the defence minister.

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