This is a thoughtful article from international think tank Carnegie Europe. It argues that while Britain’s prime minister ushers in the decline of London’s influence in the world, France’s president seeks reforms that will reassert Paris’s role in the EU.
The article is a good read and reflects current opinion, post elections in both France and the UK.
BUT the article oversimplifies strategy. The first step in strategic analysis is a ‘position audit’.
Well, the UK is fully reformed and currently open to global competition. Meanwhile, France is unreformed with labour practices that constrain French growth and collective prosperity.
Secondly, the article oversimplifies the political realities of the EU and the Euro which have spawned Brexit. In a drive to prop up the Euro to Germany’s advantage, other countries have been rationed in fiscal strait-jackets, triggering austerity, unemployment and poverty. The EU is seen as part of the problem not the solution – this is across Europe not just in the UK.
What matters I suggest is the ‘national stomach’ for radical change.
I sense that whilst France is happy to give Macron their patronage for now, they will baulk at painful reforms and Macron will impale his presidency, just like his post-war predecessors.
Meanwhile, stellar UK citizens are fed up with austerity and are likely to become increasingly angry with the heavy economic consequences of Brexit.
For sure, both countries are on new trajectories. Whilst there will be little convergence, there will always be important touch points to mutual advantage, like defense and on the global stage.