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

January 24, 2019

A gilets-jaunes list for the European elections?

How to transform public anger into a political project? There has been a second attempt by the gilets jaunes to build momentum for the European elections. Ingrid Levavasseur, a very visible representative of the movement, is leading a list with ten members already and aiming to reach 79 candidates by mid-February through an application process that is open to all French citizens.

The first time some of the gilets jaunes attempted to politicise the movement was in November, around a controversial singer, but that attempt seems to have died off. Will this initiative of the popular Levavasseur succeed? Will her popularity and the open selection process be enough to get the endorsement of other gilets jaunes? Not clear. Her influential but controversial colleague Maxime Nicolle alias Fly Rider warns already that she is about to betray the faith of hundreds and thousands of gilets jaunes in her, writes Le Monde

What if Levavasseur's list were to come together and run in the European elections? Pollsters expect a gilets jaunes list to mobilise voters who normally would abstain, and it also might pick up voters from the the far-right and far-left contingents. The Elabe poll's prediction that a gilets jaunes list would come third with 13% of the votes would, however, require that they are recognised as legitimate representatives for the gilets jaunes movement, which might or might not be the case for Levavasseur's list.

The other trend to watch out for is the convergence of the gilets jaunes with trade unions. The CGT has called for a general strike on February 5, in support of more redistribution of wealth. This call seems to have tempted some gilets jaunes to join in, originally against any association with trade unions. The alliance is the subject of a controversial debate on the social media platforms of the gilets jaunes. One advantage of such an alliance would be that it brings judicial protection to the gilets jaunes protesters, which is only granted if there is a national strike called by a trade union according to Journal du Dimanche.

Show Comments Write a Comment

January 24, 2019

Let's take "off-the-table" off the table

It was about time for the EU to start interfering in the ill-informed UK debate about "taking no-deal off the table". Next Tuesday, the House of Commons will in all likelihood vote for a bill by Yvette Cooper and Nick Boles that would compel the prime minister to seek an automatic extension of the Art. 50 deadline unless a deal is agreed by the Commons on February 26. The government will lose the battle on Tuesday, but we do not believe that this amendment will end up having a big impact. It sounds like a clever wrecking technique, and the less you know about the EU the more impressive it appears. 

Michel Barnier yesterday gave a brutal assessment of the impact of this bill. He confirmed that the default position is a no-deal Brexit, and it cannot be taken off-the-table except by agreeing a deal or a procedure that might result in revocation. He said the problem in the UK was not a lack of time, but a lack of decisions. EU ambassadors have been put on high alert that their countries need to unroll their hard-Brexit contingency plans. In other words, the risk of a no-deal Brexit is higher than the taking-no-deal-off-the-table rhetoric would suggest.

But Barnier's words are no consolation for Theresa May either. There are absolutely no signs that the EU is about to reopen the withdrawal treaty. Barnier said the EU is ready to tear up the political declaration and start all over. It is also our assessment that the EU cannot agree to anything nearly as crude as a time limit on the backstop, or a unilateral UK withdrawal procedure, but we believe that the current arrangements can be improved upon. We have pointed out, for example, that Art. 50 does not allow a permanent trading relationship being agreed through the backdoor. There should be no reason why the EU cannot codify what is, after all, its own legal interpretation of Art. 50, and give an outright legal guarantee that the backstop cannot be used to keep the UK in a permanent bind. 

What if the UK parliament cannot agree a deal? The alternatives remains another deal, based on the same withdrawal agreement; elections; or second referendum. It is possible that the House of Commons agrees a compromise as part of which the future relationship is determined, say through a referendum or an election, but that the withdrawal agreement itself is passed into law. Elections could produce more clarity, but are not certain to. We noted a polling analysis on ITV last night, which suggested that the outcome of an election would be another hung parliament. An internal assessment for the Conservatives suggests that the party is less prepared to fight an election than Labour. The tracker polls puts the two parties neck and neck, but we would assume that a campaign closely focused on Brexit could produce big swings in either direction.

Polling is a very tricky business in the current environment, and we should exercise extreme restraint in interpreting any data or swings. The psephologist John Curtice made the observation that you get significantly different results whether you ask people about a second referendum or a people's vote. Curtice's conclusion is that a second referendum might still happen after all the alternatives are exhausted, but polling data suggest that there is no appetite for it among voters.

Show Comments Write a Comment

January 24, 2019

Why Italy's centrist parties gain no traction

In his column in Corriere della Sera, Antonio Polito makes a number of pertinent observations about the failure of Italy's centrist parties to gain any traction against the populist government. He notes that both the centre-right and the centre-left have failed to develop a coherent language. He quotes the US linguist George Lakoff, who studied the emergence of the political right in the US, and found that if you rail against the elephant - the symbol of the Republicans - the image of the elephant immediately enters people's minds. At this point you already lost. This is what happens when you attack populism, because voters associate it with "people", especially in countries with languages descended from Latin. 

On top of this, the centrists are scoring very obvious own goals. An example is a comment by Maria Elena Boschi, a former PD minister, who said the citizens' income meant that people could lead a permanent life on holiday. We would add that this is not only insulting but also factually wrong, as evidenced by the German experience of Hartz-IV, which is very similar to what the Italian government has just introduced. The problem with the citizens' income, according to Polito, is a vicious circle whereby the government's economic policies will drive ever more people into poverty, and into becoming recipients of the citizens' income - and potential supporters of Five Star. He said the centrists should be more clear-headed in their attacks on the government, and not revert to slogans themselves. The trouble with Europe's centrist parties is a lack of programmes that bring hope. He is critical of the newly re-emerging Franco-German axis precisely for this reason. It is too defensive, backward-looking, led by one leader who is on her way out and another who lost his shine. The axis is strong enough to hold together, but not sufficiently strong to draw back into the political centre those who have left it.

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

  • 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 11, 2019
  • SPD dumps Hartz IV
  • Macron's revival
  • 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
  • May 18, 2020
  • Why this won't be a symmetric shock
  • Towards a new cold war
  • 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
  • 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 11, 2020
  • While Italy is in lockdown, Germany allows football matches
  • Ireland grand coalition
  • 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
  • October 21, 2019
  • Philippe to brace for more union protests
  • Greens are the electorates' new favourite
  • 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
  • December 03, 2019
  • What to look out for in the last week of the compaign
  • Trump threatens tariffs on French luxury exports
  • 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
  • March 25, 2020
  • Scientific advice and politics
  • Why the Oxford study is so useful
  • September 26, 2019
  • Could Johnson be headed for an electoral landslide?
  • Macron's conquest of public opinion over pension reform
  • Marion Maréchal keeps dream of political comeback alive
  • March 29, 2019
  • Don't take Macron for granted
  • Green is EU's future - Loiseau takes a stance
  • October 01, 2018
  • After the referendum, more turmoil in Macedonia
  • What will happen if the UK parliament votes No?
  • Barnier's no-thanks works much better than a yes-please
  • April 03, 2018
  • Is the time for Brexit revocation running out?
  • October 04, 2017
  • On why Theresa May is likely to survive
  • On how to resolve the Brexit talks
  • Social housing - not a good start for the French government
  • April 11, 2017
  • What to expect, and not expect from Schulz
  • The view from Berlin
  • The view from Moscow
  • 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 22, 2020
  • What we learned from Trump in Tulsa
  • Greece seeks EEZ deal with Egypt to counter Turkey
  • Political pressure on French judiciary in Fillon probe?
  • February 10, 2020
  • A new era in Irish politics with Sinn Féin
  • More fish, please
  • October 02, 2019
  • What Boris wants...
  • Ditched again - the decline and fall of Manfred Weber
  • May 27, 2019
  • The rising chances of a no-deal Brexit
  • January 18, 2019
  • Why Dublin won't yield on the backstop
  • Town hall debates vs street protests - who is winning?
  • September 13, 2018
  • Bravo Mr Juncker for raising the issue of the euro’s international role. But what now?
  • Are the eurosceptics imploding?
  • May 10, 2018
  • Time for some clear thinking on Trump and Iran
  • Will Corbyn accept the EEA? Brexiteers can relax. He won't.
  • What next for the DUP?
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • August 24, 2017
  • Legislative hyperactivity for Tsipras' new narrative
  • On the deep causes of euroscepticism
  • April 23, 2017
  • The demise of the AfD has accelerated dramatically
  • On how France will need to confront Germany
  • December 21, 2016
  • A culture of denial
  • Ukraine agreement hangs in the balance
  • Valls U-turn on 49-3
  • Beware of exotic Brexit options
  • August 22, 2016
  • Gold for Brexit
  • EU and Turkey talking past each other
  • Switzerland is the next migrant transit country
  • On the death of neoliberal economics
  • 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 08, 2020
  • Brexit talks at an impasse
  • Trump's troop reduction in Germany - another way to divide the EU?
  • May 06, 2020
  • ...and what it means for the future of the EU
  • Ciudadanos saves Sanchez' Covid-19 plan
  • April 07, 2020
  • Austria and Denmark - first to exit after Easter
  • All change in the UK
  • Eastern Europe’s unnoticed economic shock
  • March 09, 2020
  • Lockdown measures are not working
  • Will the ceasefire hold in Idlib?
  • February 10, 2020
  • A new era in Irish politics with Sinn Féin
  • More fish, please
  • January 15, 2020
  • Philippe's not-so-generous compromise offer
  • What is Erdogan up to in Libya?
  • When it is noise and not a signal
  • December 20, 2019
  • Climate stress-testing coming soon
  • November 25, 2019
  • Twenty years on - and less safe than ever
  • Philippe's last round of talks ahead of strike actions
  • October 31, 2019
  • Meet Workington Man
  • NordStream 2 get final go-ahead
  • October 08, 2019
  • Brexit extension as casus belli?
  • If you appoint a woman, I can appoint a man
  • September 17, 2019
  • Beware of the diplomacy of humiliation
  • Germany’s climate hypocrisy
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • August 05, 2019
  • No deal first, elections later
  • Free movement of labour? Not for politicians
  • Europe already lost the digital battle
  • July 16, 2019
  • What next, after EU sanctions Turkey?
  • What to make of Johnson’s four-point Brexit plan
  • Galileo fails, and nobody notices
  • June 28, 2019
  • In Osaka
  • June 12, 2019
  • What Spain wants from the EU
  • What to focus on in the Brexit procedure, and what not
  • May 28, 2019
  • Greens in EP boosted by numbers and national politics
  • May 13, 2019
  • Brexit Party has already changed UK politics
  • Orbán visits Trump, after a very long wait
  • Le Pen's appeal to the PiS likely to fall on deaf ears
  • April 29, 2019
  • Labour's national executive to vote on second referendum
  • What the debate about electric cars says about Germany
  • April 15, 2019
  • Finland's far right changes the game
  • Brexit party drawing almost even with the Tories
  • April 04, 2019
  • Juncker seeks to pull the plug on no-deal temptations
  • Which campaign promise to break - French edition
  • The failure of strategic thinking and its consequences
  • March 25, 2019
  • An object lesson in realpolitik
  • On the probability of a no-deal Brexit
  • March 13, 2019
  • Not really all that meaningful
  • Will the EPP merely put Orban on probation?
  • Why AKKs riposte to Macron is deeply disturbing
  • March 05, 2019
  • The most promising Brexit strategy we have heard yet
  • February 25, 2019
  • Deal versus short delay
  • The astonishing weakness of Five Star
  • The real threat is from the left not the right
  • February 18, 2019
  • How the splits on the left and the right will affect Brexit
  • February 11, 2019
  • SPD dumps Hartz IV
  • Macron's revival
  • 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?
  • January 30, 2019
  • Stages of mourning
  • Ireland bracing for a no-deal Brexit
  • The gilets jaunes' effect on purchasing power
  • January 28, 2019
  • Battle of the amendments
  • How the Prespes deal affects the next Greek elections
  • January 25, 2019
  • Is this the beginning of the end of the gilets jaunes?
  • Kurz speculates about longer Brexit delay
  • January 24, 2019
  • A gilets-jaunes list for the European elections?
  • Let's take "off-the-table" off the table
  • Why Italy's centrist parties gain no traction