Opinion – Emmanuel Macron weighs up France’s biggest challenges – Martin Wolf – FT

Economic Growth and the Production Possibility...

Economic Growth and the Production Possibility Curve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a highly-cited, excellent read from Martin Wolf, the FT’s Chief Economics Commentator. He argues that France’s economy is no basket case, but the president-elect still has problems to solve.

Source: Emmanuel Macron weighs up France’s biggest challenges – FT.com

Wolf focuses on France three core economic problems, namely:

  1. Low employment
  2. Low rate of economic growth and
  3. Sheer scale of public spending

But Wolf is quick to recognize the these are just France’s core domestic economic problems. There is an equally pressing external economic challenge, the Euro, which has given Germany economic growth at the expense of countries like France.

Politically, there are three urgent reform challenges:

  1. Legislation to free up the French labour market
  2. Reducing the trajectory of increasing French public expenditure
  3. Reforming the Euro

Both (1) and (2) require the execution of enormous reforms, in areas where past presidents of both the left and right have failed. But for the moment, President Elect Macron has no power-base in the French Parliament.

The third reform requires the support of the German government and German voters to accept a lower trajectory for German growth. Again this is huge challenge.

But the bottom-line is that if Macron fails to deliver on the above reforms, the Far-Left and the Far-Right will return more strongly in France’s next presidential election. The risks are massive, both for France and the EU. It reminds me of Barack  Obama and Tony Blair, they seized power with colossol popular support but they squandered their advantage, when they allowed their resolve to slacken.

This leaves me with an open question:

Does President Elect Macron have the political tenacity and leadership skills to be a truly reforming president?


Opinion – Fear of neo fascism keeps Emmanuel Macron ahead of Marine Le Pen | World news | The Guardian – John Gelmini

Despite this Guardian report brought to us by Dr Alf, I think this French election is still too close to call.

The comparisons between Mussolini and Hitler and Marine Le Pen would be accurate if we were talking about her father the Holocaust denier and belittler.In her case troublesome Muslims and Jihadists seem to be the object of her disdain rather than anyone else.

Fortunately, the 1930s were a long time ago and the risks posed by Marine Le Pen are of a France trying to pretend that it can “punch above its weight” working with America to try and control Mali and mineral rich parts of Africa in preference to the Chinese who have just built a naval base at Djibuti.

Macron is still the favourite but if he does win the margin will be small and the Greek bailout and PIIGS problems still point to the splitting of the EU.

John Gelmini