Interview in La RAZÓN – Una gran ocasión para reformar Francia

I was asked the following questions recently by the Spanish national newspaper LA RAZÓN. See my responses below.

1. Could Macron´s labour reform be the reason for the failure of his legislation?

It could be.  But if he does not do it, he will fail in his ambitions to 
make French grow again economically.  And if he fails to bring about successful reform, he also loses out in his attempt to appear more ‘credible’ to Germany, so as to be able to get reforms of Eurozone governance and policy that will help all Eurozone members to do better.

2. Macron promised to renew French politics, would you say he is on the 
right path to it?

Macron has the best chance to renew French politics.  Mixing policies deemed on the ‘right’ because they liberalize labor markets, increasing flexibility in hiring and firing, and on the ‘left’ because they provide new security for individual workers through unemployment insurance and retraining programs is an appropriate mix.  It is key to get both sets of policies through, also in the interests of ‘social justice’, given the dualization of the French work-force that has ensured continuing high levels of unemployment (altho nowhere near the Spanish level) and youth who find themselves unemployed or in part=time or temporary work for much too long.  The reality is that these reforms won’t do much in the short-term although they are likely to in the medium-term.  But they are certain to raise business confidence immediately, which will get the economy going through more hiring and investment, help reduce unemployment, and make France again able to help lead in Europe.

3. Considering his majority in the government, will the opposition to Macron be on the streets?

Yes, the opposition will be on the streets.  Here, the big question will be whether citizens support Macron or the protests.  My guess is that they will support Macron, who has the legitimacy based on his clear statement that he would engage in these kinds of reforms, and his massive win in the Presidential elections and majority in the legislatives.

4. His predecessor, François Hollande, wanted to change European politics, will Macron be more successful?

Yes!!!!!  There are big differences between Macron and Hollande, the ‘normal’ president who reversed his electoral promises almost immediately, who did little to challenge rules that didn’t work for France, other than to promote a discourse of ‘growth,’ and did very little to push for greater EU solidarity.  Hollande had little credibility on the European stage, Macron already has a great deal, as a new phenomenon, having won election with an entirely new party, pledging to renew French and European politics.

Here is the link to the Spanish article, which was published yesterday.

State of Play Video Promo

Watch this short video promoting the sixteenth edition of Social policy in the European Union: State of Play, in which I have a major chapter. The book has a triple ambition. First, it provides easily accessible information to a wide audience about recent developments in both EU and domestic social policymaking. Second, the volume provides a more analytical reading, embedding the key developments of the year 2014 in the most recent academic discourses. Third, the forward-looking perspective of the book aims to provide stakeholders and policymakers with specific tools that allow them to discern new opportunities to influence policymaking.

In this 2015 edition of Social policy in the European Union: state of play, the authors tackle the topics of the state of EU politics after the parliamentary elections, the socialisation of the European Semester, methods of political protest, the Juncker investment plan, the EU’s contradictory education investment, the EU’s contested influence on national healthcare reforms, and the neoliberal Trojan Horse of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Schmidt Publishes Resilient Liberalism in Europe’s Political Economy

Vivien Schmidt’s co-edited contribution to Cambridge University Press’s Contemporary European Politics series has been released in the UK and will be available in the US by the end of the month. The book – Resilient Liberalism in European Political Economy – explains why neoliberal economic ideas have not just survived, but thrived since the 1980s – taking Europe from boom to bust.


Why have neo-liberal economic ideas been so resilient since the 1980s, despite major intellectual challenges, crippling financial and political crises, and failure to deliver on their promises? Why do they repeatedly return, not only to survive but to thrive? This groundbreaking book proposes five lines of analysis to explain the dynamics of both continuity and change in neo-liberal ideas: the flexibility of neo-liberalism’s core principles; the gaps between neo-liberal rhetoric and reality; the strength of neo-liberal discourse in debates; the power of interests in the strategic use of ideas; and the force of institutions in the embedding of neo-liberal ideas. The book’s highly distinguished group of authors shows how these possible explanations apply across the most important domains – fiscal policy, the role of the state, welfare and labour markets, regulation of competition and financial markets, management of the Euro, and corporate governance – in the European Union and across European countries.

About the editors

Vivien A. Schmidt is Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration and Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Boston University and Founding Director of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Europe.

Mark Thatcher is Professor in Comparative and International Politics in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

About the series

Contemporary European Politics presents the latest scholarship on the most important subjects in European politics. The world’s leading scholars provide accessible, state-of-the-art surveys of the major issues which face Europe now and in the future. Examining Europe as a whole and taking a broad view of its politics, these volumes will appeal to scholars and to undergraduate and graduate students of politics and European studies.