2019 Global Outlook: Economic reform in France
Another year, another missed opportunity for fiscal reform in France. Like his predecessors, President Emmanuel Macron has ended up mostly raising taxes instead of decreasing the size of government and reducing expenditures. The “national dialogue” to come following the Yellow Vest protests could bring better democratic representation – and with it, more economically responsible governance. But entrenched interests will put up stiff opposition.
Opinion: Can Emmanuel Macron change France?
After winning France’s presidency, the easy part is over for Emmanuel Macron. Now he must shift from faux outsider to the country’s first real reformer in decades. To succeed, he will need to take on a political establishment only too eager to jump on his bandwagon.
Opinion: Populists, demagogues and the French elections
The intellectually arrogant arguments against “populism” fail to consider that it is an important ingredient in any democracy. It is demagoguery that is dangerous. And there is plenty of that in France’s election campaign. With many of the candidates railing against “inequality” – a strength, not a weakness of mankind – only Francois Fillon, who supports free markets and an EU that acts as a fatherland of the fatherlands, has a realistic economic and social agenda.
Global Outlook 2017: Merkel and the myth of German hegemony
Among the leaders of the world’s biggest liberal democracies, it seems Angela Merkel is the last woman standing. Some have claimed that will make her the leader of the free world and Germany Europe’s hegemon. Such claims are greatly exaggerated. There will be significant limitations to both Germany and Ms. Merkel’s room for maneuver in Europe and globally in the coming year.
Gabon’s despair and France’s postcolonial strategy
Francophone countries in Africa have had trouble implementing democracy. Gabon, where a former dictator's son has just won a second term as president in a controversial election, is the poster child for this disease. Why does this happen? Part of the answer lies in France's postcolonial geopolitical strategy. Is there any hope? For ordinary Gabonese, that appears unlikely.
Can France reform its labor market?
The halfhearted attempt by France’s ruling Socialists to reform the country’s labor market has run into trouble. Street protests and union blockades of refineries, airports and nuclear power stations have put President Francois Hollande on the defensive. Unless he brokers a face-saving deal, the most likely option is a humiliating retreat.
France’s political posturing over TTIP
French politicians have recently voiced strong criticism of TTIP, the U.S.-EU free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated. President Francois Hollande has even threatened to stop it. Is the deal really that bad, or is he bluffing?
Central Europe is headed for turbulence, not Putinization
Recent political developments in Hungary and Poland have been interpreted as portending a reversal of westernization. If history is any guide, this perception is wrong. It is true that the region appears headed for institutional turbulence that could foster growing political and economic volatility. But a more serious upheaval is virtually precluded by the region’s...
Euro crisis: time for a rerun?
After Greece obtained its third bailout last summer, Europe turned its attention to other crises. But it would be naive to conclude that the sovereign debt crisis is over. The Greek drama is still far from a happy ending; in Portugal and Spain, fragile left-wing governments may want to abandon austerity and roll back reforms; France has declared a state of economic...
After Paris climate deal, major changes are still a long way off
Apart from the collapse of world oil prices, 2015’s most important energy event was the Paris meeting on climate change. After a fortnight of negotiations, the agreement reached on December 12 was met with cheers. It was hailed as a landmark accord, or even, in the words of French President Francois Hollande, “a revolution for climate change.” However, a close look...