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Posts Tagged ‘Macron’

Macron gives Johnson until end of week to overhaul Brexit plan

Posted by hkarner - 8. Oktober 2019

Date: 07-10-2019
Source: The Guardian

French president’s insistence that UK should give way raises chances of talks imploding

Emmanuel Macron

The French president has given Boris Johnson until the end of the week to fundamentally revise his Brexit plan, in a move that increases the chances of the negotiations imploding within days.

The UK proposals tabled last week are not regarded in Brussels as being a basis for a deal and Emmanuel Macron emphasised it was up to the UK to think again before an upcoming EU summit.

After declining to meet with the prime minister in person, Macron further insisted during a phone call on Sunday that the talks would only be advanced through Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Emmanuel Macron’s long game

Posted by hkarner - 28. September 2019

Date: 26-09-2019
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne

The French president’s European strategy enters a new phase

On september 26th 2017 a freshly elected Emmanuel Macron gave a speech at the Sorbonne University in Paris. It lasted over one-and-a-half hours and argued for a hugely more ambitious eu. Amid poetic overtures about Europe’s common fate was a long list of proposals to integrate the continent more tightly, in order to toughen it up for a more demanding world. “European sovereignty requires constructing, and we must do it,” insisted the new leader. Yet now, on the speech’s second birthday and as Mr Macron nears the midpoint of his presidential term, his roster of European achievements is modest.

The timing was poor. Delivered just after Germany’s federal election, the speech was meant to inspire the incoming government there. Yet the coalition talks dragged on; then the young German government was plunged into a squabble about immigration; then the anti-establishment gilets jaunes (yellow jackets) protesters took to French streets and mired Mr Macron in domestic matters. His approval ratings have recovered in recent months and Macroniste minds are once more turning to the European picture.

But timing was not the only problem. Berlin works differently from Paris; speeches there are not battering-rams but ship’s tillers, gently adjusting a course. Some German leaders felt ambushed by the Sorbonne talk. Angela Merkel found it too ambitious (the chancellor and the president admire each other, but she finds him cocky and he finds her complacent). French and German officials can be pessimistic about each other’s countries. In Paris they mutter darkly about Germany’s export-dependent economic model; in Berlin they fret about the president’s fragile grip on his country. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Boris Johnson’s German and French dealings

Posted by hkarner - 24. August 2019

  Date: 23-08-2019
Source: The Economist

Britain’s prime minister hopes the EU is softening its line on Brexit. It isn’t

WHEN HE became prime minister, Boris Johnson insisted that he would not be a supplicant visiting continental capitals to plead over the terms of Brexit. Unless the European Union agreed in advance to ditch the Irish backstop from the current Brexit withdrawal agreement, he would not talk to his fellow leaders at all. Instead, Britain was ready to leave the EU on October 31st, with or without a deal. Yet this week he flew to Berlin and Paris to see Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron before going on to the G7 summit in Biarritz.

Beforehand, Mr Johnson wrote to fellow European leaders to repeat that the backstop, intended to avert a hard border in Ireland in all circumstances by keeping the United Kingdom in a customs union with the EU, must go. He also insisted that, contrary to promises to adhere to many Brussels rules so as to preserve a level playing-field, Britain must have freedom to diverge from EU regulations. Despite this uncompromisingly hard line, he was politely received by the German chancellor and the French president. Mr Johnson’s supporters promptly talked up the results, claiming that Mrs Merkel had given him 30 days to produce an alternative to the backstop, while Mr Macron had conceded that the withdrawal agreement could be amended. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Neue Kommissionschefin von der Leyen: Partystimmung in Paris

Posted by hkarner - 23. Juli 2019

Während in Deutschland viele mit Ursula von der Leyen hadern, ist die Freude in Frankreich riesig. Die Wahl der CDU-Politikerin zur neuen Kommissionschefin ist für Emmanuel Macron ein großer Erfolg.

Von Georg Blume, Paris

Sonntag, 21.07.2019 00:22 Uhr. spiegel.de

„Es lebe Europa, vive l’Europe, long live Europe!“ – so hatte Ursula von der Leyen am Dienstag ihre Rede vor dem Europaparlament in Straßburg beendet. Das Werben war erfolgreich. Die Abgeordneten wählten die CDU-Politikerin zur neuen Präsidentin der EU-Kommission. Hinterher warfen deutsche Kritiker von der Leyen jedoch zu viel Pathos in ihren Worten vor. In Frankreich wiederum ist man so etwas längst gewöhnt. Präsident Emmanuel Macron schließt fast jede seiner Rede mit einem „Vive la République!“ Kein Wunder, dass ihm von der Leyens Auftritt gut gefiel.

Die frühere Verteidigungsministerin verkörpere in einer Person „ein deutsch-französisches Paar“, heißt es aus dem Kreis von Macrons Beratern im Élysée-Palast. Der Präsident hatte sich bislang mit Reaktionen auf von der Leyens Aufritt eher zurückgehalten – ganz bewusst. Es hätte zu sehr nach Selbstbeweihräucherung ausgesehen. Schließlich hat Macron nie einen Hehl daraus gemacht, dass er es war, der von der Leyen im Kreis der europäischen Regierungschefs vorgeschlagen hatte. Doch nun sind ein paar Tage vergangen. Und inzwischen will man in Paris durchaus durchblicken lassen, wie froh man mittlerweile nach Brüssel blickt. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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France Starts a Digital Tax War

Posted by hkarner - 18. Juli 2019

Date: 17-07-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By The Editorial Board

Macron’s levy on U.S. tech giants plays into Trump’s hands.

French President Emmanuel Macron

Rule No. 1 for international economic affairs ought to be “Don’t give Donald Trump a legitimate excuse for a trade war.” French President Emmanuel Macron missed the memo, which explains why Paris is pushing a new digital tax that even the Germans don’t want for Europe.

The digital services tax approved by the National Assembly last week imposes a 3% levy on sales by global tech companies in France. If the companies have no profits, they will still pay the tax. The theory is that 80-year-old global agreements that tax profits in a company’s home country are outdated in the digital era: Tech companies are too good at exploiting loopholes that allow them to book profits arising from their intellectual property and other intangible assets somewhere other than where they earn revenue. Instead, the thinking goes, they should have to pay tax where the sales are made.

Plenty of European Union countries would love to impose a tax of this sort on U.S. tech, and the U.K., Italy and Spain are debating their own versions. But most Europeans worry about retaliation, which is why governments like Germany’s scuttled earlier proposals for an EU-wide version of the French plan. Mr. Macron seems to hope his unilateral act will spur others to move faster.

Instead he may spur a trade war. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office last week opened a Section 301 investigation to determine whether the French tax unfairly discriminates against American companies. This would pave the way for retaliatory tariffs. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Von der Leyen als EU-Kommissionschefin Eine Siegerin, viele Verlierer

Posted by hkarner - 4. Juli 2019

Ursula von der Leyen soll die EU-Kommission führen – als erste Frau und erste Deutsche seit 52 Jahren. Kanzlerin Merkel geht dennoch nicht als strahlende Siegerin aus dem Gipfel-Drama hervor.

Von Markus Becker und Peter Müller, Brüssel
Ursula von der Leyen: Vielleicht bald EU-Kommissionschefin – wenn das Parlament sie bestätigt
Dienstag, 02.07.2019 22:09 UhrSpiegel.de

Sieger sehen anders aus. Eben erst wurde Ursula von der Leyen zur neuen EU-Kommissionspräsidentin nominiert, eine Parteifreundin und alte Weggefährtin Angela Merkels. Doch als die Kanzlerin nach dem EU-Gipfel in Brüssel vor die Presse tritt, wirkt sie, als hätte sie noch eine Rechnung offen.

Die sensationelle Wende in Richtung von der Leyen erwähnt die Kanzlerin drei Minuten lang mit keinem Wort. Stattdessen dankt sie erst einmal Manfred Weber und Frans Timmermans, die als Spitzenkandidaten von Christ- und Sozialdemokraten in den Wahlkampf gezogen sind und sich nun mit Jobs in der zweiten Reihe begnügen müssen: Weber soll zweieinhalb Jahre lang EU-Parlamentspräsident werden, Timmermans Vizepräsident der EU-Kommission bleiben.

Alles habe sie getan, um eine faire Lösung für die beiden zu finden, sagt Merkel. „Das ist nicht gelungen.“ Ein Grund: CSU-Mann Weber sei „von Anfang an als nicht geeignet und nicht wählbar dargestellt worden“. „Das darf nie wieder passieren“, sagt die Kanzlerin – eine kaum verhüllte Ansage an Frankreichs Präsident Emmanuel Macron, der Weber auch persönlich heftig attackiert hat.

Anschließend referiert Merkel ausdruckslos, dass von der Leyen zur Kommissionspräsidentin nominiert wurde – „einstimmig, mit einer Enthaltung“. Die kam ausgerechnet aus Deutschland, dem Land, das zuletzt vor 52 Jahren die Kommission führen durfte und nun die erste Frau in diese Position entsenden kann. Doch die SPD wollte dem nicht zustimmen. Nach den Regeln des Berliner Koalitionsvertrags heißt das: Enthaltung in Brüssel.

Immerhin: Es hätte schlimmer kommen können für Merkel. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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French Protesters Hang Up Their Yellow Vests

Posted by hkarner - 17. Juni 2019

Date: 16-06-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Battered by leadership crisis and flagging support, movement that tested President Emmanuel Macron now faces uncertain future

Yellow-vest protesters marching in Paris in May. The demonstrations began in November as an act of defiance against the government’s plans to raise fuel taxes.

PARIS—For months, Yves Garrec dedicated his Saturdays to slipping on a yellow road-safety vest and hitting the streets in protest. Not any more.

“I’ve put my yellow vest back in the car glove compartment,” the 60-year-old chauffeur says.

Seven months after waves of demonstrations first washed over France—bringing the government to its knees—the yellow-vest movement has run out of steam. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What’s Left of the Left?

Posted by hkarner - 4. Juni 2019

Date: 03-06-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Mitchell Abidor

The European Elections and the Rise of the Greens

For the past 29 weeks, every Saturday in France has centered on the demonstrations of the yellow vests. The left, the right, and the politically unclassified and unclassifiable have participated in these demonstrations, which have at times descended into violence on the part of either the demonstrators or the supposed forces of order. Whatever the politics of the participants, there has been one common denominator: bottomless hatred for French President Emmanuel Macron.

The right believes that Macron is turning France over to European bureaucrats and opening its doors to immigrants; the left views him as the president of the rich. To all who protest, and not only them, he is someone with no understanding of, or concern for, the average French citizen. And so, every week like clockwork, he has been reviled and insulted at weekend marches across France.

The European elections, which took place May 23–26, could not have come at a worse time for Macron. The elections would be a plebiscite on Macron’s rule, and the opposition saw them as a golden opportunity to humiliate him. The situation was ripe for a political turning, and the further growth of the far right seemed certain. A transformation of French and European politics was in the offing. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why the EU Election Was a Win for Macron

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2019

Although the far-right National Rally edged out La République en Marche ! in the European Parliament election, broader trends in European politics now look favorable for French President Emmanuel Macron. His party will now lead a pivotal centrist bloc, and will be able to work closely with the newly reinforced Greens on crucial reforms.

PARIS – Though the final vote tally might seem to suggest otherwise, the European Parliament elections were a strategic success for French President Emmanuel Macron. There are four reasons why this is so.

First, Macron succeeded in framing the election as a contest between progressives and populists. Though he has been assailed at home in recent months – including by some on his own “side” – it is worth remembering that this message did not emerge out of thin air. Rather, it harks back to Macron’s 2017 presidential campaign, which itself tapped into a broader political sea change taking place across Europe. In that election, he overcame the traditional right-left divide. Two years later, this was replicated in the European Parliament elections. Historically, the Republicans on the right and the Socialists on the left have dominated French politics. Yet these parties’ combined share of the popular vote was under 15%, whereas Macron’s La République en Marche ! won 22.4%, and the far-right National Rally (formerly the National Front) picked up 23.3%. Behind these figures is an unprecedented collapse of the mainstream French right, which has failed to reconcile identity politics with traditional liberalism. Though some French conservatives have migrated to the National Rally, much of the center-right electorate has gravitated toward Macron’s party, owing to efforts by Prime Minister Édouard Philippe (formerly of the Republicans).Moreover, most of those who switched to La République en Marche ! are pensioners who did so despite being hit hard by Macron’s tax reforms (some of which have been reversed). This suggests that Macron’s progressive-versus-populist narrative helped to re-mobilize France’s – and perhaps Europe’s – pro-European electorate. While the National Rally performed well and Italy’s right-wing League party made gains, they failed to trigger the EU-wide political earthquake that many had come to expect.The second reason the election represents a victory for Macron is that his party will now be able to claim leadership over a pivotal centrist parliamentary group of 110 members. The relative losses suffered by the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), combined with the surge in support for the Greens, means that the European Parliament is entering a period of quadripartite governance. Provided these groups are able to compromise, the new arrangement will probably be an improvement on the old one, wherein the EPP and S&D divvied up all of the jobs. For the first time in the European Parliament’s history, the number of MEPs affiliated with the two main parties represents only 44% of the total.A more fluid parliamentary composition will allow for more ad hoc majorities to emerge in support of various policy proposals, given that there is so much common ground between La République en Marche !, the S&D, and the Greens. And, as an added bonus, the end of the EPP/S&D duopoly also marks the end of German hegemony in the Parliament.

Third, the Spitzenkandidaten process – whereby the largest party grouping selects the president of the European Commission – is likely to collapse, and this may also work to Macron’s advantage. The system is a first-past-the-post mechanism in a proportionally elected Parliament, and has more to do with partisanship than with democracy, because it gives automatic power to the largest group.

But while the EPP won the most parliamentary seats, its Spitzenkandidat, Manfred Weber, is very controversial. Just before the election, he was weakened by the political demise of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose government was by the release of a video in which his vice chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache of the Freedom Party, appears to offer a quid pro quo for electoral help from Russia. But Merkel still defends Weber, and, apart from Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, most EU leaders are reluctant to confront the European Parliament on the Spitzenkandidaten issue. That may shorten the odds for Margrethe Vestager – who is not from the EPP, but who is, in a sense, a liberal Spitzenkandidat – while while lengthening them for Michel Barnier, who is from the EPP but is not a Spitzenkandidat. If the Council succeeds in ruling out Weber and his populist supporters, Macron will claim it as a success.Finally, the election provides a check on German hegemony within the EU more broadly. Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has been weakened, and the country’s Greens have grown stronger. For his part, Macron will find the Greens much easier to work with on eurozone reform, especially if they end up joining a new German coalition government.Taken together, these post-election considerations paint a rather positive picture for Macron. The question now is whether he can use his strength at the EU level to shore up his domestic position. This will not happen automatically. With the fall of the French right, there may be a temptation to position La République en Marche ! as a new home for right-wing French voters. But while this might capture Paris’s bourgeois 16th arrondissement, doing so would be a mistake. Instead, Macron should focus on securing more of the atomized left, particularly those who have moved to the National Rally.As matters stand, La République en Marche !’s base remains limited to the “winners” of globalization. Rural, alienated, and economically vulnerable voters remain in the National Rally’s camp. To win them over, Macron must reduce the polarization between the two parties.

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France’s Golden Boy Learns How to Fight

Posted by hkarner - 1. April 2019

Date: 31-03-2019

Macron Debates His Way Out of The Yellow-Vest Crisis

When faced with the anger of the yellow-vests movement, French President Emmanuel Macron was almost taken down by his own hubris.
Now he has emerged from the crisis with a new fighting spirit, marking a turning point for him — and for the country.

It feels like he’s always being hounded by this face, its smooth features, the straight nose, the pronounced jawbone. „You’re posing everywhere as if you were a model for a mail-order catalogue,“ writes François Ruffin.

Ruffin hates the French president with a passion, and he makes no effort to conceal it.

He describes his loathing for the French president as something „physical“ — a deeply visceral reaction. And he’s by far not the only one. According to Ruffin, this hate „has become a political fact.“ Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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