« La BCE devrait avoir un mandat politique clair qui expliciterait quels objectifs secondaires sont les plus pertinents pour l’UE »
I was co-signer (with seven other experts) to a comment in the French newspaper Le Monde that argued that to ensure that the ECB does more with regard to its secondary objectives, the ECB needs political guidance from the European Parliament and arguably the Council.
The rescue deal allows for transfers within the bloc to the regions most badly hit by the pandemic and most in need of funds – very similar to what happens in the United States on a routine basis. There has also been a change in monetary policy, allowing for easier borrowing by states in need of fiscal stimulus.
See my comments on Le Pen’s defeat in Monday’s Boston Herald. I said, “Le Pen is not going away, but this is a major defeat for her.” As the article notes, I attribute Le Pen’s success to her charisma and name recognition and said it will be tough for another nationalist to pick up her momentum. “This is a family enterprise, in many ways.”
I was quoted at length today in the Washington Post on the French elections and why populism did not triumph there. I helped to make the case that compared with Britain and the United States, the countries history explains why the center held in France.
There is likely to be higher turn out in the first round, if only because there has been so much build up with real debates between the many different candidates. Macron and Melenchon are most likely to attract undecided voters. Le Pen voters have been committed for quite a while, even if her rhetoric has ramped up in recent days, and may enable her to pick up disenchanted Fillon (center right) voters.
Anything is possible in this race. The question is, if Melenchon is the second man, is Le Pen the first woman? That is what most analysts suggest, and established politicians fear, because they think that will mean that Le Pen is elected. ‘Strategic’ thinking among voters may mean that they pull back from Melenchon in the end, and vote Macron. If the contest is Macron/Le Pen, Macron wins. If, however, Fillon comes from behind, to make it a Fillon/Le Pen race, then the abstention on the left could mean a Le Pen victory.
On Friday, March 31, I was quoted in another Washington Post article on the upcoming French elections. Making the case that the anti-European sentiment in France closely mirrors that of the Brexit and Donald Trump phenomena in Britain and the United States, I pointed out that it’s the same discourse of globalization gone too far, of outrage over high unemployment — and especially youth unemployment. As the authors of the article point out, “the general unemployment rate in France has hovered around 10 percent for years, and the youth unemployment rate is about 26 percent.” But the phenomenon is also sociocultural. People really feel a loss of control, political and otherwise. Le Pen gives people a nostalgia for a vanished past, a past most people don’t even remember.
The Washington Post asked experts on French politics for their observations on the upcoming elections and their “guesstimates” of the first-round winner and final result. My comments appeared in yesterday’s issue as part of a feature entitled “The Guesstimator: Predict the French presidential election and win a free Post subscription!” Here’s what I had to say:
First-round winner: Le Pen, 32 percent; final results: Macron 57 percent, Le Pen 43 percent. “Le Pen’s base is no more than 40 to 45 percent,” while Fillon and Macron are competing for a realigning electorate. Hurting Le Pen further is that the French are “appalled” by Trump. Finally, Schmidt notes, the “fake jobs” scandals facing Fillon and Le Pen will help Macron. If Fillon does survive the first round, Schmidt predicts Le Pen will pick up some votes from the left due to her strong defense of welfare and her anti-globalization stance.
I was quoted today in the Washington Post in an article by Paris reporter James McCauley on opportunities for France in the wake of Brexit:
According to Vivien Schmidt, the Jean Monnet professor of European integration at Boston University, the major shift away from a French-led Europe came in the 1990s, when the European single market embraced a host of neoliberal economic polices, including the deregulation of telecommunications and, later, of electricity, both opposed by France.
“Basically, it’s no longer the French leading,” she said. “It’s a set of policies that don’t sit well with the idea of the French state being in control.”
See my comments in Kaitlin Lavinder’s article on The Cipher Brief on the rise of Euro-skepticism and the growing popularity of candidates who are political outsiders:
“Euro-skepticism has been increasing more generally across Europe, along with disenchantment with national political elites,” explains Boston University professor Vivien Schmidt, who is also the founding director of BU’s Center for the Study of Europe.
The Eurozone crisis, the refugee crisis, and the security crisis (that is the heightened threat of terrorist attacks on the continent) all contribute to a loss of trust in mainstream parties and the “steady rise” of populist parties across Europe, says Schmidt.