Hugo Drochon, who teaches politics at the University of Cambridge, is the author of Nietzsche’s Great Politics.
JAN 23, 2017 Project Syndicate
CAMBRIDGE – François Fillon, a discreet and loyal former prime minister under former President Nicolas Sarkozy, is now the right-wing Republicans’ official nominee for the French presidential election this spring. In the party’s primary last November, early polling had predicted a win for Alain Juppé, a prime minister under Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac, and had put Fillon a distant third behind Sarkozy himself (who was seeking to stage a political comeback). When Fillon pulled out a surprise victory, many observers began to compare him to Donald Trump.
Fillon is a soft-spoken, reserved, and deeply devout Roman Catholic who lives in a small castle in his native province of Sarthe. He exhibits none of the brashness, vulgarity, and self-adoration currently emanating from Trump Tower in New York. But Fillon’s supporters have three things in common with Trump’s:rejection of liberal identity politics; opposition to “expertise” as a decisive component of politics and policymaking; and anxiety about loss of power and status in a country they once dominated. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
National Front candidate takes a more cautious approach to dropping euro than in 2012 campaign
PARIS—National Front leader Marine Le Pen is seeking to turn May’s presidential election into a referendum on the European Union by detailing a strategy to pull France from the bloc and its single currency if she wins.
She last ran in 2012 with an initial promise of a sharp and sudden break from the euro, but this time Ms. Le Pen has sought broader support from a splintered French electorate. She says she would organize an orderly exit rather than crashing out with unpredictable consequences. If elected, she and top National Front officials say, her administration will spend its first six months negotiating the creation, along with other disappointed euro nations, of a basket of shadow European currencies. A newly reinstated franc, she says, would eventually be pegged to that basket, replacing the euro.
Ms. Le Pen says other countries struggling to meet European rules would be willing to enter into talks on pulling the EU apart. The threat of having to leave the euro, she says, has been used to blackmail Greece and other Southern European countries into implementing austerity programs their people reject. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Daniel Gros is Director of the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies. He has worked for the International Monetary Fund, and served as an economic adviser to the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the French prime minister and finance minister. He is the editor of Economie Internationale and International Finance.
JAN 4, 2017 Project Syndicate
BRUSSELS – Another year, another threat to the European Union’s survival. The good news is that the greatest disruption of 2016, Britain’s vote to exit the EU, appears manageable. The bad news is that both France and Italy face the prospect of a populist political takeover this year. Either outcome could well spell the end of the EU.
The EU has lately become a prime target for populists. The phenomenon first took hold in Greece, when the left-wing Syriza party came to power in January 2015. But Syriza was not trying to pull Greece out of the EU; rather, it wanted a better deal with the country’s creditors, who had imposed devastating austerity measures on Greek citizens.
Syriza’s approach largely reflected the will of the people. In a June 2015 referendum, voters overwhelmingly rejected a deal proposed by Greece’s creditors that would have meant even more austerity. Yet the government’s acceptance of a largely unchanged deal just a few days later received broad support. Greek voters understood that better terms were not worth losing eurozone membership. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Hugo Drochon, who teaches politics at the University of Cambridge, is the author of Nietzsche’s Great Politics.
NOV 30, 2016 Project Syndicate
CAMBRIDGE – In the French Republican party’s presidential primary on Sunday, François Fillon soundly defeated frontrunner Alain Juppé, winning close to 67% of the votes.
Two weeks ago, a landslide victory for the apparent underdog seemed out of the question. It had long been expected that Juppé, the mayor of Bordeaux and a former prime minister under President Jacques Chirac, would beat the other frontrunner, former President Nicolas Sarkozy, in a second-round runoff. Instead, Fillon, a former prime minister under Sarkozy, emerged from the first round with a commanding lead, winning 44% of the vote. The outcome was a humiliating one for Sarkozy, who received just a little over 20% support, and effectively ended his political career.
For many observers, the vote invoked the specter of June’s Brexit referendum and US President-elect Donald Trump’s victory earlier this month. Opinion polls placing Fillon as a distant third were proven wrong, partly because many voters seem to have made up their minds just days before the vote. Social media were also credited, again, with playing a key role. In the last debates before the vote, Fillon presented himself as a credible alternative to Juppé and Sarkozy. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Die Kandidatur von Francois Fillon in Frankreich käme einem politischen Erdbeben gleich: Fillon vertritt in fast allen Positionen das genaue Gegenteil dessen, was Angela Merkel will.
Francois Fillon – ein Gegenentwurf zu Angela Merkel?
Berlin, 21. Nov (Reuters) – François Fillon hat im Berliner Kanzleramt bereits Spuren hinterlassen: Im Jahr 2007 brachte er Angela Merkel bei seinem Antrittsbesuch als Premierminister eine frühe Ausgabe von „Radioactivité“ mit – ein Buch der französischen Physikerin Marie Curie, die ein Vorbild der Kanzlerin ist. Das Gastgeschenk ist ein Zeichen für die deutsch-französische Freundschaft und wird sogar in einer Vitrine gezeigt.
Der Konservative Fillon hat gute Chancen, im kommenden Jahr dem Sozialisten François Hollande als Präsident zu folgen. Gerade mit seinen wirtschaftspolitischen Vorstellungen könnte er ein Verbündeter Merkels werden. Doch auf anderen Gebieten – von Russland, der Türkei über die Flüchtlingspolitik bis zur europäischen Integration – drohen Konflikte.
Mehr als ein halbes Jahrhundert waren Deutschland und Frankreich die Motoren der europäischen Integration. Viele setzen auf diese Achse, um die EU nach dem überraschenden Brexit-Votum aus der Sinnkrise zu führen. Über Monate hieß es in Merkels Umfeld, dass Fillons Rivale Alain Juppé dafür der beste Kandidat wäre. Denn er ist wie Merkel überzeugter Europäer. Bei Themen wie der Einwanderungspolitik schlägt er gemäßigte Töne an. Und seine Haltung gegenüber Russland ist der von Merkel ähnlich. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
The founders of the euro have fundamentally different ideas about how the single currency should be managed
The Euro and the Battle of Ideas. By Markus Brunnermeier, Harold James and Jean-Pierre Landau. Princeton University Press; 440 pages; $35 and £24.95.
THE euro crisis that first blew up in late 2009 has revealed deep flaws in the single currency’s design. Yet in part because it began with the bail-out of Greece, many politicians, especially German ones, think the main culprits were not these design flaws but fiscal profligacy and excessive public debt. That meant the only cure was fiscal austerity.In fact, that has often needlessly prolonged the pain. Later bail-outs of countries like Ireland and Spain showed that excessive private debt, property bubbles and over-exuberant banks can cause even bigger problems for financial stability.
That is one early conclusion of “The Euro and the Battle of Ideas”, by three academics from Germany, Britain and France. They describe thoroughly the watershed moments of the crisis, how power shifted to national governments(especially in Berlin) and the roles played by the IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB). They blame euro-zone governments for failing to sort out troubled banks more quickly, for not realising that current-account deficits matter when public debts are in effect denominated in a foreign currency, for not making the ECB into a lender of last resort and for not pushing through structural reforms in good times. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
The drama of Brexit may soon be matched or eclipsed by crystallizing events in France, where the Long Slump is at last taking its political toll.
A democracy can endure deflation policies for only so long. The attrition has wasted the French centre-right and the centre-left by turns, and now threatens the Fifth Republic itself.
The maturing crisis has echoes of 1936, when the French people tired of ‚deflation decrees‘ and turned to the once unthinkable Front Populaire, smashing what remained of the Gold Standard.
Former Gaulliste president Nicolas Sarkozy has caught the headlines this week, launching a come-back bid with a package of hard-Right policies unseen in a western European democracy in modern times. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne
Subject: Au revoir, l’Europe
BARELY a year into his second presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy looked out from the steps of the Élysée and admitted defeat. The referendum had been lost. The European Union flag still fluttering behind him, the president said that he regretted that France, a founding member of the EU, would now have to leave it. Pollsters were flabbergasted. Mr Sarkozy put on a brave face. “Eternal France”, he said, trying to sound like de Gaulle, had endured far worse in its long and glorious history. Its best days lay ahead. And non, the president had no intention of resigning.
His optimism was unusual. Mr Sarkozy had won another spell in the Élysée by trafficking in fear (borrowing several ideas from Donald Trump’s almost-successful campaign for the White House). In the primary for France’s centre-right Republicans, held in November 2016, Mr Sarkozy had focused relentlessly on the country’s année de cauchemars (“year of nightmares”), blaming weak leaders and bumbling Eurocrats for failing to prevent a bloody series of terrorist attacks. In this febrile atmosphere Mr Sarkozy’s rival, the genteel Alain Juppé, didn’t stand a chance. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.”
– Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, 2002
“Germany’s Angela Merkel exudes an atmosphere of elderly exhaustion and pooped-out pessimism. Britain’s David Cameron, though by nature exuberant, feels he has to look and sound glum. And France’s leader, François Hollande, seems determined to drive every successful businessman out of the country.”
– Paul Johnson
“I stay in France. Better to be the queen of a village than a servant in a kingdom.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande.
Brexit is a catastrophe, but it is not the end of the European Union. The EU must now take advantage of the opportunity it has been presented with. Here’s how.
Zero hour is a term often used to describe the moments following war or revolution — moments when the known world is no more and a new one is born. Conditions at such times are often catastrophic, but therein lies the opportunity for better times ahead. After World War II, the opportunity was taken advantage of, after World War I, it wasn’t. Following the French Revolution, it took quite some time before a stable democracy developed, but after the American Revolution, it went quite quickly. It is easy to start a war, but it is difficult at zero hour to establish a promising peace. No continent knows that better than Europe.
Brexit is not a catastrophe on this level, far from it. But it does represent a zero hour for Europe. One can, at least, see it that way. And one should, because doing so would open our eyes to new possibilities and to the new opportunities now presented. It is infinitely discouraging that the majority of the British believe their country doesn’t belong in the European Union. It is a misconception and a mistake. But it has now been made and we must all live with it. No means no. The eternal squabbles with the United Kingdom must now come to an end. Go with God. But go. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »