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July 24, 2017

Macron's popularity falls amid more budget cuts

Emmanuel Macron’s popularity is falling sharply. The Ifop poll for Journal du Dimanche registered a ten-point fall in just one month. Only one other president, Jacques Chirac, lost as much in the third month of his presidency. There is still a majority (54%) satisfied with the president, but his popularity is below that of Francois Hollande or Nicolas Sarkozy at the same point in time. The decline in popularity is explained by the standoff with the military, the labour reform, and the back-and-forth about tax reforms. 

Will further reforms help or worsen his popularity? The main obstacle is actually an old problem: how to compile a budget that reduces the public deficit below 3% and still delivers promised reforms. All current obstacles are budget-related, notes Nicolas Beytout in l’Opinion. The conflict with the military was about expenses, the discontent of the mayors is about revenues. And the subject of the latest controversy, the cut in personalised household benefits (APL), is about spending cuts. None of these measures have been well explained on the campaign trail. Expect the fall in popularity to continue into the autumn. 

The latest outcry is about an announced cut of the personalised household benefits by €5 per month. The left came out strongly against this measure, accusing the government of offering tax reductions for the rich while punishing poorer households. The problem with this measure is that it is a flat spending cut that also hits poor households, the magazine Marianne points out. Of the 6.5m of households who received it, about 800,000 are students. And 48% of the benefit goes to households in the lowest 10% income bracket. The spending minister defended the measure by saying the previous government voted for the same measure but did not implement it. This provoked a strong denial by members of the former Socialist government, who insisted that their measure was tailored to hit only those households with at least €30,000 income, or those paying wealth tax.

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July 24, 2017

Orbán to support Polish government against EU

Predictably, Viktor Orbán pledged Hungary's support for the Polish government against EU threats to trigger Article 7 sanctions on Poland for threatening the rule of law. As any EU sanctions require unanimity in the European Council, this forecloses any EU action going further than condemning the Polish government. This weekend, there have been street protests against the judicial reforms undertaken by the Laws and Order (PiS) government in Poland. According to Rzeczpospolita the protests numbered in the thousands on Saturday and Sunday. The paper notes that the Polish left, which failed to get into the Polish parliament at the last elections altogether (even the Social Democrats failed to gain seats in the Sejm) is organising strongly around these protests. Among the demands of the protesters is the dissolution of the Sejm for early elections. Meanwhile, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the PiS strongman, had strong words of disapproval for Polish president Andrzej Duda, saying that he had stabbed his own party in the back by threatening to veto the judicial reform unless the requirement to appoint Supreme Court judges was raised from a simple majority to three-fifths of the Sejm.

We think Poland, and not Brussels, is the proper place to fight the PiS judicial reforms.

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July 24, 2017

No exit from Brexit

There are an extraordinary number of articles in the UK press about an exit from Brexit. The most extreme comment is from Matthew Parris, a highly respected Times commentator, who wrote in the Specator:

"...there’s a slim chance the grisly Brexit project could yet pull through, and it’s right to acknowledge this."

Parris is a very typical specimen of pro-EU commentator in the UK. His extraordinary expertise on UK politics is matched only by his complete ignorance about the EU. He believes that the UK can not only decide what shade of Brexit it wants, but also that it can unilaterally decide to revoke it. Neither is true. 

Two comments over the weekend addressed this particular issue. Wolfgang Munchau writes in his FT column this morning that the EU’s legal position is that the European Council would have to assent to a revocation of Brexit. Munchau thinks the Council will most likely attach conditions that will be unacceptable to the UK: no rebate, early agreement on the post-2020 EU budget, change in domestic legislation that requires referendums for treaty change, possibly even membership of the eurozone. Another possibility is that the European Council may insist that Brexit proceeds, followed by re-entry negotiations under Article 49. Under that second scenario, Britain would lose all opt-outs.

Niall Ferguson comes to a similar conclusion in the Sunday Times:

"I was against Brexit a year ago, but subsequently came to the conclusion that it would be better for both the EU nations and the UK to get a divorce, for they want a federal Europe and we never did. Put less politely, they are prepared to put up with German predominance and we are not."

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  • January 07, 2019
  • What to look out for in the Brexit debates
  • Macron's last-resort tool for the gilets jaunes
  • August 31, 2017
  • Where are the Républicains?
  • Poland unmoved by EU rule-of-law sanctions
  • May will stay through Brexit, and then fight the 2022 elections
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 03, 2020
  • After medical concerns, economic concerns take centre stage in Greece
  • New momentum to exclude Fidesz from the EPP
  • The Swedish experiment
  • December 12, 2018
  • 48 letters
  • A sense of deja-vu
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • February 02, 2020
  • Is Sinn Fein the Irish anti-establishment vote?
  • Don’t assume that nobody will follow the Brits
  • October 29, 2018
  • Why the EEA is no longer a Brexit option
  • Behold the rising superpower: post-catholic Ireland’s European miracle
  • July 27, 2017
  • Löfven's move
  • The nearing end of petrol and diesel engines
  • Why a second referendum in the UK won’t happen, and why it would be wrong
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • December 12, 2019
  • Greta is right - the EU’s fight against climate change is most likely a PR exercise
  • September 25, 2018
  • Be careful what you wish for - second referendum edition
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 17, 2019
  • A dangerous game for the EU
  • After Brexit, get ready for a German EU budget rebate
  • August 20, 2018
  • ... and a subtle shift in EU policies towards both Russia and Turkey
  • Nothing to celebrate about the end of the bailout programme
  • Support for Brexit holding up
  • June 20, 2017
  • How to soften Brexit?
  • The deep roots of Brexit: Thatcher and the Germans
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • July 09, 2018
  • German panic about Target2
  • AfD level with SPD
  • How the EU could fail
  • May 31, 2017
  • Getting real in the debate on the euro's future
  • Russia's growing influence in Italy
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • July 06, 2020
  • Did Covid-19 escape from a Wuhan lab?
  • What to make of Angela Merkel's U-turn
  • June 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • May 10, 2017
  • PSOE primary campaign in full swing
  • Czech government crisis escalates
  • Backroom dealing on electoral reform in Italy
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 06, 2020
  • The feedback loop of Covid-19 and inequalities - part 10 of our series
  • How confinement affects mental health
  • April 09, 2019
  • What can go wrong now?
  • April 13, 2018
  • German support for eurozone reform next to zero...
  • ... and no support for France on Syria either
  • A French sermon
  • Why the euro endures
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • January 06, 2020
  • A decade that started with a bang
  • What to expect of Spain's next government
  • Divide et impera: Macron's pension reform strategy
  • January 29, 2019
  • What comes after plan B fails? Plan C, of course. C for cliff-edge
  • Gilets jaunes, how to structure a movement in free flow?
  • European Court of Auditors criticises Juncker’s investment fund
  • February 26, 2018
  • Angela Merkel's cabinet
  • March 27, 2017
  • Governing formation troubles - Northern Ireland edition
  • Did Trump present Merkel with a bill for Nato?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 23, 2019
  • Corbyn’s last big battle
  • Germany’s CO2 compromise meets all targets - except the climate targets
  • November 13, 2018
  • Peak Salvini?
  • Protest uberisation
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • February 28, 2017
  • Is Hamon losing the right wing of his party?
  • Something we just don’t understand
  • Solve the problem
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • March 23, 2020
  • Orbán seeks to extend his powers
  • UK as the double counterfactual
  • June 10, 2019
  • How to create Brexit facts
  • The new Alde is already in trouble
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • November 13, 2017
  • A pro-European list: Wauquiez' nightmare
  • Catalan separatism isn't going away
  • Why oh why does Germany behave the way it does?
  • Why the four freedoms matter
  • February 01, 2017
  • Do Republicans have a plan B if Fillon falls?
  • Unforgiven
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 27, 2019
  • German political centre is melting
  • Train drivers in all-out confrontation with Macron
  • Erdogan makes threats again
  • February 11, 2019
  • SPD dumps Hartz IV
  • Macron's revival
  • May 31, 2018
  • Hans Werner Sinn demands German euro exit
  • The politics of the SPD’s links to Russia
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • December 11, 2019
  • Philippe to present pension reform bid
  • The N-VA is back in the game for a Belgian government
  • May 02, 2019
  • Ahead of a meeting with Salvini, Orbán brands the EPP as suicidal
  • What role for trade unions amid gilets jaunes?
  • The church vs the EU
  • September 21, 2018
  • SPD ministers want to continue grand coalition
  • February 12, 2018
  • What the euro debate is really about
  • How Brexit can still falter
  • July 06, 2017
  • On Merkel’s imperial overreach
  • When the opposition opposes to oppose
  • Everybody wants the medicines agency
  • November 29, 2016
  • On the politics of the Italian referendum
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 10, 2020
  • Italy has folded for the sake of a deal. Plus ca change.
  • ECB governors agreed on size of bond purchases, less on composition
  • France triples its fiscal stimulus
  • Direct lending to governments, big and small
  • Some bad Covid-19 news from Germany
  • October 09, 2019
  • A final push for a deal
  • Costa mandated to form government
  • April 09, 2019
  • What can go wrong now?
  • October 08, 2018
  • A renewed willingness on both sides to cut a Brexit deal
  • Latvian politics in turmoil after huge populist gains
  • April 10, 2018
  • A mood of radicalisation in France
  • The German far right makes inroads into trade unions
  • On the absurdity of a new centrist party in British politics
  • October 12, 2017
  • Panicking in London
  • Gabriel's unbearable hypocrisy on the eurozone
  • April 15, 2017
  • Happy Easter
  • October 19, 2016
  • Walloons stand firm
  • Juppé and Macron - father and son?
  • J’ai vraiment dit ça?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • March 16, 2020
  • Why many of the Covid-19 statistics are misleading
  • November 04, 2019
  • Brexit tactical voting is happening - on both sides
  • Merkel promises 1m charging stations - but doesn't tell us how
  • June 24, 2019
  • Economic reform has torn up the SPD - climate policy does the same for the CDU/CSU
  • Not intruding, not really
  • February 11, 2019
  • SPD dumps Hartz IV
  • Macron's revival
  • October 04, 2018
  • The Brexit Queen’s new dancing clothes
  • Ceci n’est pas une crise politique
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • January 19, 2018
  • On the futility of discussing the German current account surplus
  • The Brexit revocation madness
  • Varadkar, the enfant terrible in the Brexit negotiations
  • September 14, 2017
  • Bravo Mr Juncker
  • ... what he said about the labour market
  • ... and what his speech means for Brexit
  • May 11, 2017
  • Germany rejects IMF’s policy recommendations before they are issued
  • Why Labour is losing
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • August 26, 2016
  • Will the refugee crisis return?
  • Montebourg en avant
  • Moisi on Sarkozy's chances
  • Binary choices
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 29, 2020
  • Édouard Philippe - mayor or prime minister?
  • Sir Humphrey, R.I.P.
  • May 14, 2020
  • Another migrant wave from Turkey?
  • Hyperventilating about the German court
  • March 31, 2020
  • Orbán's power grab
  • Why we would like to share the optimism on eurobonds, but can’t.
  • February 17, 2020
  • Security issues we should be discussing
  • Salvini has changed his mind on the euro - yet again
  • January 06, 2020
  • A decade that started with a bang
  • What to expect of Spain's next government
  • Divide et impera: Macron's pension reform strategy
  • November 18, 2019
  • Is Macron facing another uprise against elites?
  • Forget the inflation target: Lagarde’s job is much bigger.
  • October 07, 2019
  • What did Conte know?
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • July 10, 2019
  • Turkish drilling off Cyprus - a test case for the EU
  • Labour’s new Brexit policy is not really a shift
  • June 03, 2019
  • Reinventing the French right without Wauquiez
  • Tory leadership election is between feasible and unfeasible Brexit options
  • April 29, 2019
  • Labour's national executive to vote on second referendum
  • What the debate about electric cars says about Germany
  • March 25, 2019
  • An object lesson in realpolitik
  • On the probability of a no-deal Brexit
  • February 18, 2019
  • How the splits on the left and the right will affect Brexit
  • January 14, 2019
  • Our Brexit predictions
  • 1789 - Macron's version
  • Tsipras calls confidence vote after Kammenos pulls out
  • December 14, 2018
  • Running down the clock
  • Macron, Philippe - untouchable no more
  • EP blasts Commission over Babis
  • November 14, 2018
  • Now what?
  • October 15, 2018
  • Black Brexit smoke
  • Bettel can relax and stay in office
  • Solving the crime vs solving the problem
  • September 17, 2018
  • About the new partnership between Russia and China
  • EU ponders Irish backstop protocol to help May
  • August 20, 2018
  • ... and a subtle shift in EU policies towards both Russia and Turkey
  • Nothing to celebrate about the end of the bailout programme
  • Support for Brexit holding up
  • July 20, 2018
  • Why preparations for no-deal Brexit are a positive development
  • On confirmation bias in the Brexit commentary
  • June 25, 2018
  • Trump's car tariff to come early
  • On the lack of a sharp focus in the eurozone debate
  • June 01, 2018
  • Will France and Germany stick together in their response to US trade tariffs?
  • From a eurozone budget to a slush fund
  • May 09, 2018
  • A moment of truth in the Brexit talks
  • A leap of faith, Mr Kierkegaard?
  • April 16, 2018
  • Italy's and Germany's pained response to the Syria attacks
  • On the end of the eurozone's economic honeymoon
  • Why Bulgaria should stay out of the euro
  • Where shall we meet after Brexit?
  • March 26, 2018
  • On the run no more
  • Terrorist attack will challenge Macron
  • A double-whammy of geopolitical and financial uncertainty
  • March 05, 2018
  • One rock, two vetos, three governments
  • Rutte weighs in
  • February 12, 2018
  • What the euro debate is really about
  • How Brexit can still falter
  • January 22, 2018
  • Carles Puigdemont's flying circus
  • Macedonia and the insurrection of Greek patriotism
  • On the real hurdles for Brexit revocation
  • And the satellites, too
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • December 20, 2017
  • Down with the gown
  • How to overcome the political gridlock in Italy
  • Varoufakis is suing the ECB
  • December 04, 2017
  • Can Brexit still be stopped?
  • Could Poland open up the Posted Workers Directive again?
  • Has the Bank of England solved the productivity puzzle?
  • November 20, 2017
  • Showdown over Northern Ireland
  • Castaner and his list confirmed
  • Gennimata to lead the new left alliance
  • Brexit‘s ultimate irony
  • November 06, 2017
  • Pressures on EU rise over Catalonia
  • German pre-coalition talks hit glitch
  • If you thought UK politics couldn‘t get worse...
  • October 24, 2017
  • Is Kaczynski tired of ruling behind the scenes?
  • An era of movements instead of parties?
  • On the decline of the traditional parties
  • October 13, 2017
  • Why Austria’s vote matters
  • What a Paris diesel ban would mean for Europe's car industry
  • A Dutch referendum on the Dutch referendum?
  • October 02, 2017
  • Catalonia recalls EU and eurozone instability
  • French trade unions increase pressure over labour reforms
  • Watch out for a political accident in the UK
  • Municipal elections boost Portugal's Socialists
  • September 22, 2017
  • The last German polls
  • September 13, 2017
  • Why the Turkey negotiations will continue
  • September 05, 2017
  • On the Turkish question
  • Macron's unemployment insurance reform, next?
  • Labour to vote against the Repeal Bill
  • August 29, 2017
  • The deep significance of Labour's Brexit U-turn
  • The day after the SPD loses
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • August 03, 2017
  • Commons to vote whether to keep UK in universe
  • Syriza uses eduction bill to reconnect with grassroots
  • July 31, 2017
  • Russia sanctions bill becomes US law
  • Spain's Guardia Civil in the eye of the Catalan storm
  • A grand bargain between France and Germany
  • July 26, 2017
  • Has Schulz blown it?
  • Housing benefits cuts expose Macron's weakness
  • July 25, 2017
  • The impact of Duda's veto
  • How to undo Brexit
  • Front National: Frexit or not?
  • July 24, 2017
  • Macron's popularity falls amid more budget cuts
  • Orbán to support Polish government against EU
  • No exit from Brexit