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.

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