We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.
close

April 20, 2018

Macron at home

Emmanuel Macron's Berlin visit did not feature highly in the French news either. Instead papers looked back to Macron's first year in office. There is no doubt that under Macron many reform projects have been launched. Many of them are already completed, and this in a very short time period. Macron also did not shy away from contentious reforms. On the contrary, he even took on board the SNCF reform even if this had not been promised on the campaign trail. He succeeded to deliver the labour law reform, and is already planning the next challenge, a reform towards a unified pension system. 

Despite all this reform frenzy, there is no sign of a revolution either, writes Les Échos. Instead there is an erosion of trust. The latest Elabe poll shows that 52% consider the election of Macron a bad thing. The French acknowledge Macron's transformational role, but they have lost sense of where this is leading. They also start to worry about the social impact, and what they will get out of this. They are concerned that his reforms will split the country rather than unite it. They also find that he is not delivering on his promise to protect, only to liberalise.

And then there is the question about coherence. The editorialist from L'Opinion finds there are just too many priority projects in the air, which needs to be squared with the government's budget commitments.

Every presidency benefits from the initial good will of the people. It seems that this moment is coming to an end for Macron. What will come next will be important to define what his presidency is about.

Show Comments Write a Comment

April 20, 2018

EU has rejected all UK proposals on Northern Irish border

We are approaching what promises to be the final high-noon moment in the Brexit negotiations - on the future of the Northern Irish border. Peter Foster has a story in the Daily Telegraph that the EU has comprehensively rejected all of the UK’s proposals for the Northern Irish border. This leaves the UK effectively with a choice of either no deal or accepting a customs union.

The article says the EU produced a "systematic and forensic annihilation" of the UK's proposals, rejecting both of the UK's ideas for the border. 

The first was for a customs partnership, in which the UK would collect duties on the EU’s behalf. This was rejected by the EU on the grounds that it could not allow countries outside its supervision mechanism and IT systems to levy duties, and because the plan places an unfair tariff-collection burden on businesses. The EU also raised objections about costs.

The second proposal was for what the UK calls a streamlined customs arrangement, which includes trusted-trader schemes, with technological support, plus exemptions for small businesses. That, too, was rejected because it would set precedents for the customs union with Turkey, and in any case it would not be workable in practice. 

The story quote a source as saying the EU had given a comprehensive and forensic rebuttal of the proposals on Wednesday. The EU’s position essentially leaves the UK with no alternative choice but to accept a customs union. The alternative would be no deal, but that would also produce a hard border in Ireland. The article said that the British team, led by Olly Robbins, was shocked by the total lack of flexibility by the EU on this issue. 

The EU, meanwhile, has suspended all work on the future EU-UK trade until this issue is settled. In response, Theresa May will now chair weekly meetings with her inner Brexit war cabinet starting next week, in an effort to find alternative solutions. The article also makes another troubling point for the UK. If the UK decides to join a customs union, the EU would still require full compliance with EU rules for goods and agricultural products. This is why we still think that EEA membership is a vastly superior option to a customs union. 

We noted an interesting comment by Martin Wolf in the FT. While he has not changed his extremely negative views on Brexit, he has now come to the conclusion that a second referendum would be a thoroughly bad idea. For once, it would be hard to find the right question to answer; time might be too short to organise it; but most importantly, it would tear the country apart, and might not even resolve the issue.

Show Comments Write a Comment

April 20, 2018

Could there be a Five Star-Forza Italia government?

It took barely a day for the exploratory mandate given by Italian president Sergio Mattarella to Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, a Forza Italia politician, to collapse. The first thing Casellati did was to suggest a government role for her party leader, Silvio Berlusconi, and that Five Star might provide outside support for a centre-right government. This infuriated the leaders of both Lega, Matteo Salvini, and Five Star, Luigi di Maio. Salvini because he sees himself as the leader of the centre-right coalition since his Lega Nord did better than Forza Italia at the elections. And Di Maio because Five Star is the largest single party (though it failed to beat the centre-right coalition) and doesn't see itself as a junior partner to anyone else. In addition, the base of Five Star appears incensed at the suggestion of a deal involving Berlusconi.   

According to La Repubblica, Matteralla's reaction to the unedifying spectacle is likely to be to take Casellati's mandate as failed, and give another mandate on Monday. The paper suggests that this mandate will go to Five Star, because the coalition has already got the mandate once. This would be despite Salvini's protestations that he's the leader of the centre-right coalition. The only way Salvini can get the mandate now is if he manages to assemble a parliamentary majority that he can present to Mattarella by Monday.

The paper also suggests that di Maio has earned the bona fides of Mattarella by moderating his public positions on Nato. Foreign policy is a major concern for an Italian president, and Salvini has undermined his own international credibility with his pro-Russian reaction to the Syria bonbing by the US, UK, and France. Among yesterday's brouhaha, Di Maio did suggest he would accept outside support by Forza Italia and the other party in the centre-right coalition, the Brothers of Italy, just not a government role for Berlusconi.

The question is whether Salvini, rather than be a junior partner, will prefer to stay in opposition in hopes of growing his party's support. With the Partito Democratico divided and leaning towards also staying in opposition, could they end up having a Five Star government with Forza Italia support? The only other alternative to new elections would be a technical government or "president's government".

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.

 

Recent News

  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 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 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
  • 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
  • May 31, 2019
  • Salvini’s frightening strength
  • The significance of Corbyn’s latest flipflop on the referendum
  • 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
  • November 09, 2017
  • From street protests to road closures
  • What Russia wants
  • January 31, 2017
  • Project fear against Italexit
  • On how not to frustrate Brexit
  • 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 07, 2019
  • Forget Tusk - the real action is elsewhere
  • On David Malpass and the Trump legacy
  • 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
  • September 15, 2017
  • Juncker dragged into the Catalan fray
  • What to say in Florence
  • How to fill the gap left by the British MEPs
  • 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
  • April 26, 2019
  • How Brexit has given rise to different perceptions of reality
  • The EP, not Madrid, will boost Spanish clout
  • How realistic is a Gaullist Europe?
  • September 17, 2018
  • About the new partnership between Russia and China
  • EU ponders Irish backstop protocol to help May
  • February 07, 2018
  • A short note on bitcoin
  • July 04, 2017
  • On the CDU’s programme
  • Macron defines his presidential style
  • Why do we criticise modern macro?
  • November 28, 2016
  • And now what Monsieur Fillion?
  • The inescapable logic of an interim agreement
  • On Germany's foreign policy post-Trump
  • How to lose against the populists
  • 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 01, 2019
  • Meaningful IV
  • Caputová elected: a turning point for central Europe?
  • October 02, 2018
  • Whatever it takes - diesel version
  • Is Macron's European discourse too simplistic?
  • April 06, 2018
  • Schleswig Holstein collapses Spain's strategy against Catalan separatism
  • On the implausibility of conspiracy theories in the Skripal case
  • October 09, 2017
  • UK is starting to prepare for a no-deal Brexit
  • Why Germany will resist meaningful eurozone reform
  • April 12, 2017
  • Macro in a state of denial
  • Where Schulz is vulnerable
  • Schäuble’s three party tricks
  • October 17, 2016
  • Ceta is dead for now
  • L’après-Hollande, c'est Hollande
  • SPD against Russia sanctions
  • Nissan to join customs union and other fanciful tales
  • 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 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • February 04, 2019
  • Watch out for the resurgence in Tory unity
  • The gilets-jaunes' effect on the European elections
  • What did he possibly mean by that?
  • September 27, 2018
  • Two ways out of the Brexit impasse
  • May 22, 2018
  • A €60bn ESM credit line - is this what they call a backstop?
  • Will Nato survive Trump?
  • Northern Ireland's Brexit disillusion
  • Would Corbyn become prime minister if he accepted the single market?
  • January 15, 2018
  • Is the section on Europe for real?
  • Can Drahos upset Zeman?
  • September 11, 2017
  • Turkey issues travel warning for visitors to Germany
  • How nasty is the AfD?
  • May 08, 2017
  • A message of hope
  • Barnier's not so easily agreed Brexit principles
  • The rebirth of the paranoid conspiracy theory
  • 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 24, 2016
  • Towards a hard Brexit
  • Is there a pact of Ventotene?
  • La rentrée
  • 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 24, 2019
  • Johnson has more options than you think
  • A Franco-German initiative to redistribute migrants
  • June 26, 2019
  • How would the EU react to Do-or-Die?
  • Merkel Procrastinates? Surely not.
  • May 30, 2019
  • US threatens Instex
  • Alliance - surfing on the Remain vote in Northern Ireland
  • May 03, 2019
  • The pro-Brexit message from the local elections
  • Putin's silk road
  • April 08, 2019
  • Welcome to the new Brexit grand coalition
  • Waiting for Macron's next move
  • March 14, 2019
  • A very meaningless vote
  • February 19, 2019
  • Neither seven dwarfs, nor the magnificent seven. Merely a sad day for Labour
  • Will Costa last through the stand-off with the unions?
  • January 28, 2019
  • Battle of the amendments
  • How the Prespes deal affects the next Greek elections
  • January 04, 2019
  • Will the AfD become the Dexit party?
  • Romania's corruption problem in the spotlight of its EU presidency
  • December 03, 2018
  • French protests coming to a head this week
  • The Galileo fiasco, an ill omen for the future UK-EU relationship
  • November 12, 2018
  • Does Macron really believe in his own 2019 battle plan?
  • A throwaway commentary about a throwaway comment
  • October 23, 2018
  • May hardens position on Irish backstop under pressure from cabinet
  • Greek pension cuts - a classic European dilemma
  • October 05, 2018
  • What to make of the Anglo-Irish approximation on the backstop?
  • Macron's launches charm offensive but gives offence nevertheless
  • Moscovici all but breaks with his socialist party
  • September 19, 2018
  • Attacks weaken legitimacy of spitzenkandidat model
  • A very German farce
  • September 03, 2018
  • Is the AfD an extremist party? Of course it is. Why do you ask?
  • 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 23, 2018
  • A Watergate affair for Macron?
  • Irish insist hard border is politically impossible
  • July 10, 2018
  • SPD now trails AfD
  • On the diplomatic fallout of Seehofer's Brexit letter
  • June 29, 2018
  • On the EU's red lines in the Brexit negotiations
  • As bad as Nafta
  • June 18, 2018
  • Some thoughts on the future of Europe
  • The end of Spanish income moderation?
  • June 06, 2018
  • Putin's new European strategy
  • 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 21, 2018
  • Another snap election in the UK? Tories are preparing
  • Merkel and Putin - the beginning of a beautiful friendship?
  • May 14, 2018
  • Catalonia: plus ça change...
  • Conveney says no to Brexit with border infrastructure
  • Why the noble Lords don't really matter
  • May 08, 2018
  • Macron and the technocratic republic
  • Philippe's silent offer to the SNCF unions
  • On the ordoliberal utopia of a debt-free state
  • April 30, 2018
  • Looming May protests against Macron
  • France has discovered the Laffer curve
  • An important resignation in the UK
  • April 27, 2018
  • The return of Spain's government by parliament?
  • Towards elections in Ireland?
  • From Washington to the banlieue
  • The case for a time-limited customs union
  • April 25, 2018
  • Macron's pitch to Trump
  • Montoro in Schleswig-Holstein
  • The old world and the new
  • April 23, 2018
  • More bad news for the SPD
  • Will Theresa May accept a customs union? The Times says yes. We think so too.
  • A comeback for Marine Le Pen?