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

August 30, 2018

Macron's strategy for Europe

Emmanuel Macron needs allies for his European ambitions. He is currently touring the Scandinavian EU countries as part of his mission to win over more potential partners which remain sceptical. With only nine months to go before the European elections his aim is to recompose the political landscape in the European parliament the way he did in France last year. He plans to convince the more sceptical parties that it is time to address taboos, including treaty change, and to stand up for an open and independent Europe. And Macron wants France to take over the role of mediator. 

The hostility of Victor Orban and Matteo Salvini serve him well. This polarisation allows Macron to call for progressive forces to rally behind him against the populist extremes. He frames the European elections as a referendum on Orban's ultraconservative vision of Europe. Orban could bring the EPP to a boiling point and allow Macron to reap the benefits. If Macron manages to get some from votes from the EPP and the Socialists, he would be in a good position to become the leaders of the pro-European forces in the European Parliament. It is a risky strategy, writes Le Monde, in particular since the EPP also includes Angela Merkel's party. Macron will have to convince potential allies to confront the eurosceptic right head-on, a move not everyone is ready to embrace.

For Macron the European elections are also important at the national level. If he loses, people might wonder whether his presidency was just an accident.

Show Comments Write a Comment

August 30, 2018

The difficulty of a new centrist party in the UK

The FT has the story that the Labour leadership is worried about the emergence of a new centrist party ahead of the next elections. The article describes plans to set up a centrist party the day after Brexit (that would be April Fool’s Day). The party’s main agenda point would be to amass a pro-European alternative to both the Tories and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, and to campaign for EU re-entry.

The article quotes senior Labour officials expressing fears that the centrists may be using the anti-semitism issue as an excuse to split from Labour. The article also says that several MPs are still on the fence given the experience of the SDP, which split off from Labour in the early 1980s. The article quotes Alan Johnson, a former Labour cabinet minister, as forecasting that a split in the Labour Party is now inevitable. Others are less sure.

A split does not appear to be imminent, but preparations are clearly under way. The funding for such a party is there. We also think it is plausible that the strategic purpose of this movement is not to undo Brexit, but to focus on post-Brexit politics. 

Will it fly? Paul Mason does not think so. We disagree with his extreme leftist analysis in general, but he makes a couple of points worthy of consideration. The first is that the first-past-the-post electoral system favours incumbent parties. The second is that the political system is polarised because the electorate itself is polarised. There may not be much support for a centrist party in this day and age. The two arguments are related in the sense that the electoral system rewards only the two largest parties, and discriminates against the third. Mason believes that a centrist party has no chance of overtaking Labour. We are not so sure about that. Metropolitan London and the south might be open to a centrist party. Views on the EU differ strongly across regions. That could make a pro-European party viable, especially under the current voting system.

Show Comments Write a Comment

August 30, 2018

Is this not the time for European integration?

We think that Kevin O’Rourke is spot-on when he writes that this is not the time for the eurozone to seek further integration. The recent discussion on eurozone reform clearly shows that there is no appetite for fundamental change. We disagree, however, with his conclusion that we should blame the architects of the monetary union for the mess. Understanding history is important, but a blame game is not going to help us. Helmut Kohl is dead, but we are still here stuck with an inherently unstable monetary union. It is our problem, not his.

But what we though was very useful in his analysis was the chain of events that he suggests would unfold if EU leaders were to make an attempt at political union. At least in some member states the ratification process would hit obstacles, especially in countries requiring a referendum for treaty change. This is what would happen:

"At the first sign of opinion polls suggesting that voters might say no, money would flee the country concerned: otherwise investors would be taking the risk of having their euros converted forcibly into new and untested currencies. With banks coming under pressure as depositors withdrew their money, government would be forced to adopt emergency measures to protect their financial systems: capital controls (bans on people taking money out of the country), or restrictions on people withdrawing money from the banking system. The result would be financial chaos, which is why (although they are always capable of surprising us) politicians are unlikely to agree to such a foolish scheme."

He is right. But, what then? Another crisis will strike eventually. Will we go through the same cycle as we did in the last one? Bailouts followed by austerity? Or will it be default followed by exit? These seem to be the alternatives, since the eurozone failed to create the instrument of a default without exit. It is worth spending some time thinking through the policy choices. Looking at the politics of the eurozone’s member states, it is entirely plausible that we might arrive at this juncture sooner than we like.

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

  • 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 01, 2019
  • Polls look good for Johnson, but raise difficult dilemmas
  • A German death that has become political
  • A French death that has become political
  • July 08, 2019
  • Instex, forever around the corner?
  • Why Rory Stewart is not really what Remainers should be looking for
  • June 13, 2019
  • On the large and rising risk of a no-deal Brexit
  • Unite and divide - Act II of Edouard Philippe
  • May 22, 2019
  • Better start those no-deal preparations right now
  • Europe's real transfer union is from east to west
  • April 29, 2019
  • Labour's national executive to vote on second referendum
  • What the debate about electric cars says about Germany
  • April 08, 2019
  • Welcome to the new Brexit grand coalition
  • Waiting for Macron's next move
  • March 18, 2019
  • May's deal still on the table. Don't rule it out.
  • EPP decision on Fidesz still open
  • On the defeat of liberalism
  • February 25, 2019
  • Deal versus short delay
  • The astonishing weakness of Five Star
  • The real threat is from the left not the right
  • February 06, 2019
  • Gilets jaunes: anti-government but business-friendly
  • May has reasonable chances of success
  • January 20, 2019
  • Groundhog Britain
  • January 04, 2019
  • Will the AfD become the Dexit party?
  • Romania's corruption problem in the spotlight of its EU presidency
  • December 10, 2018
  • ECJ says UK free to revoke Article 50, even inside extension period
  • A turning point in Macron's presidency
  • China has added Portugal to the list of its key EU partners
  • Belgium's coalition implodes over Marrakesh pact
  • November 26, 2018
  • Two German plus two Dutch makes four spitzenkandidaten
  • Yellow vest protests - radicalisation and new political alliances
  • November 13, 2018
  • Peak Salvini?
  • Protest uberisation
  • November 02, 2018
  • When events intrude
  • Maybe a step closer to a Brexit deal, but not really close
  • October 22, 2018
  • A week of intense political tension in the UK
  • Poland's local elections reveal deeply-split country
  • October 12, 2018
  • A deal so close, and yet so far
  • AfD leaves Germans speachless and helpless
  • October 03, 2018
  • Ironman Stubb wants to succeed Juncker
  • Don’t think for one moment that Tories are rallying behind May
  • September 26, 2018
  • EU doubling down on internal UK customs border
  • Can Valls replay Macron in Barcelona?
  • September 20, 2018
  • The long Brexit endgame has started
  • September 14, 2018
  • Carney warns about dramatic hard Brexit impact on housing market
  • Can Africa thrive on free trade with Europe?
  • September 10, 2018
  • Steadfast Juppé stays true to embattled Macron
  • Sweden’s Democrats and Germany’s AfD: they don’t win elections, but they set the political agenda
  • Is Boris going to challenge Theresa May?
  • September 06, 2018
  • City of Frankfurt bans diesel
  • A fairytale meeting for Macron in Luxembourg
  • September 03, 2018
  • Is the AfD an extremist party? Of course it is. Why do you ask?
  • August 31, 2018
  • How Macron uses the new European divisions at home
  • Macron's eurozone budget is probably a no-go
  • EU edging closer to a Brexit deal