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

April 25, 2019

May will go, but probably not until September

There is one thing Theresa May and the EU leaders have in common: a tendency to kick the can down the road even if this course of action is manifestly not in anyone's interest other than their own.

After yesterday's narrow vote by the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers not to change the one-year grace period for party leadership challenges, May has won a little time. But time for what? If she cannot find a majority in the next couple of weeks for either another meaningful vote or the withdrawal agreement bill, the pressure on her to leave with intensify again.

The 1922 committee yesterday formally requested May to set out the plans for her departure in case the withdrawal bill does not pass. Graham Brady, chairman of the committee, said he does not expect her to stay on all the way until December. We have never joined the chorus of UK political commentators with their premature forecasts of May's impending political death. But even we would agree that she cannot stay on until the end of the year. 

We think the critical moment will be the Tory Party conference in Manchester, to be held from September 29 to October 2. We cannot see her addressing the conference as a leader, not having delivered Brexit and without a successor in place. Also consider that this is just two weeks before the October European Council, which could decide on yet another extension request. We don't think the Tories would want May to attend that meeting, and potentially agree to a long delay - as a parting gift - before handing power over to her successor. The possibility of a long extension is not yet on people's radar screens, but it will be after the local and European elections in May.

It is therefore our expectation that the Tories will want to have a successor in place by late September. And that will require May to make an announcement of her decision to step down by June at the latest, deal or no deal. 

Andrew Duff argues that the European Council has now essentially lost control of Brexit, and has allowed itself to be exposed to the vagaries of UK politics. This rhymes with our own observation that the EU has not thought through the consequences of extending into the next UK premiership. We liked Duff's quote of an EU official who said that May could be succeeded by "someone worse"

Duff considers possibilities for the EU to constrain the freedom of manoeuvre of the next UK prime minister. One possibility would be to upgrade the political declaration into a draft mandate for the negotiations on a future association agreement. More likely is the opposite course of action - to downgrade the political declaration and to redraft it during the transition period. 

We agree with his conclusion.

"The European Union, poised to elect new leadership, is being destabilised by Brexit. Anxious to move on to tackle some big legislative and diplomatic issues, the EU is distracted from doing so. Having dealt efficiently with the first phase of Brexit, it now faces the possibility of years of wrangling with the British. The longer the Brexit crisis prevails the greater the cracks in the unity of the 27 member states and in the cohesion among the EU institutions."

Show Comments Write a Comment

April 25, 2019

Waiting for Macron's wow effect

Emmanuel Macron will finally unveil his catalogue of grand débat measures tonight in one of his rare press conferences. Editorialists and journalists kept filling front pages with speculation ever since Macron cancelled his address to the nation last week due to the fire in Notre Dame. They wonder about whether Macron will revise the measures that leaked through the press, or use the different political climate after the nation came together over Notre Dame to put the agenda on a larger footing. His agenda for the second half of his presidency, perhaps? Expectations are high all around.

Commentators do expect Macron to announce something new just for the sake of the wow effect. The recurring theme in the newspapers this week has been on how to create incentives to work more. Abolishing a holiday or raising the retirement age were the scarier proposals that surfaced, and outraged many people already. Reducing the burden of taxes and social charges on extra working hours or bonus payments met with a better reception. The question here is how to finance it.

Last December, as an immediate reaction to the protests of the gilets jaunes, Emmanuel Macron announced an exceptional tax-free bonus for employees. According to an Ifop survey released yesterday, the scheme benefited 29% of employees who received firm bonuses of up to €1000 free of taxes and social charges. Companies were pressed by Macron to do their part in reinstating social peace. They had until March 31 to issue bonus payments under this regime. 

Les Échos wonders whether Macron could today announce a continuation of those tax-free bonuses. After all, the poll suggests that a majority of recipients spent the money rather than saving it. Economists already expect a positive growth effect from the full €10bn-worth of measures that Macron promised last December. But the tax-free bonus is not without problems, as bonus payments could simply replace wage rises. It only worked as a surprise measure and because of the escalating protest waves of the gilets jaunes. Now that the movement is reduced to its radical fringe, the incentives for companies to act are somewhat reduced.

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

  • 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 17, 2019
  • A dangerous game for the EU
  • After Brexit, get ready for a German EU budget rebate
  • 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?
  • May 25, 2018
  • Rejected by US, Germany is turning towards China...
  • ...and France is turning to Russia
  • UK ties Galileo to security partnership
  • Germans are discovering miniBoTs
  • September 14, 2017
  • Bravo Mr Juncker
  • ... what he said about the labour market
  • ... and what his speech means for Brexit
  • 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 02, 2019
  • Will pension reform protests spiral out of control?
  • Malta's PM resigns over murder case
  • April 24, 2019
  • May's final and biggest gamble
  • Will the EP be Brexit's great parliamentary beneficiary?
  • Can Loiseau fight the far right given her past?
  • September 12, 2018
  • It is easy to criticise Chequers but very hard to come up with an alternative
  • February 05, 2018
  • How big is Germany's external surplus, really?
  • Macron's first election test
  • Coeure's endorsement of a fiscal union
  • July 03, 2017
  • Can Greece exit its programme without a credit line?
  • The softening Brexit
  • Macron's state of the nation address
  • 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 16, 2020
  • Why many of the Covid-19 statistics are misleading
  • September 17, 2019
  • Beware of the diplomacy of humiliation
  • Germany’s climate hypocrisy
  • 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
  • September 21, 2018
  • SPD ministers want to continue grand coalition
  • March 28, 2018
  • The real reason for the sanctions against Russia
  • Wishful thinking: Brexit edition
  • Wishful thinking: Future of euro edition
  • Wishful thinking: Italy edition
  • 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
  • April 10, 2017
  • Nein, nein, nein, und nein
  • Sounds like a bad Brexit story, but ain’t
  • On how not to exit the euro
  • 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
  • January 24, 2020
  • Is Germany anti-semitic and racist?
  • Did the Greek financial crisis play a role in Brexit?
  • September 18, 2019
  • No doubt, this is a constitutional crisis
  • Macron's immigration bid
  • 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
  • January 04, 2019
  • Will the AfD become the Dexit party?
  • Romania's corruption problem in the spotlight of its EU presidency
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • April 25, 2018
  • Macron's pitch to Trump
  • Montoro in Schleswig-Holstein
  • The old world and the new
  • December 22, 2017
  • Will Macron be the new de Gaulle?
  • 2018 through the looking glass
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • April 20, 2017
  • Don’t bet on Trump turning globalist
  • A note on UK election polls
  • December 20, 2016
  • The politics of terror
  • On Lagarde
  • Is a disruptive Brexit possible?
  • 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
  • May 05, 2020
  • Germany's cash-for-clunkers
  • What about the summer holidays?
  • 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
  • March 16, 2020
  • Why many of the Covid-19 statistics are misleading
  • February 19, 2020
  • Degrowth isn't enough to stem climate change
  • Is Renzi finished?
  • Welcome to Germany, Tesla
  • January 28, 2020
  • Moving forward or calming down on Macron's reform agenda?
  • Marjan Sarec' bold move
  • Is the EU about to overplay its hand in the Brexit talks?
  • 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
  • December 09, 2019
  • The next three days
  • November 19, 2019
  • Not the time to bet against the Franco-German relationship
  • German employers and union united against the debt brake
  • November 01, 2019
  • Beware of the fallacy of composition and hindsight bias - Brexit edition
  • October 14, 2019
  • What is Turkey's medium-term game?
  • Germany sabotages EIB climate change policies
  • 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
  • September 11, 2019
  • What are the chances of a deal?
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • July 29, 2019
  • No-deal Brexit is no longer just a scenario
  • No German warships to the Strait of Hormuz
  • July 15, 2019
  • No queues in Berlin for von der Leyen’s succession
  • Mitsotakis moves fast with tax bill
  • The feel-good factor in the pre-Brexit days
  • July 02, 2019
  • How not to choose
  • Why no-deal Brexit has emerged as a strong probability
  • June 21, 2019
  • No appetite for extension
  • Macron and Ciudadanos - an unholy alliance?
  • June 12, 2019
  • What Spain wants from the EU
  • What to focus on in the Brexit procedure, and what not
  • June 03, 2019
  • Reinventing the French right without Wauquiez
  • Tory leadership election is between feasible and unfeasible Brexit options
  • May 27, 2019
  • The rising chances of a no-deal Brexit
  • May 20, 2019
  • Far right on the march
  • A plot against the EU - a new weapon to stop Le Pen?
  • 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
  • May 07, 2019
  • … while Macron’s European troubles have already begun, and might get even worse
  • Don't discount a Brexit deal
  • Is Tsipras too complacent?
  • Costa - the fiscally responsible Socialist
  • May 01, 2019
  • Labour votes against obligatory second referendum
  • On the link between output gap measures and the rise of political extremism
  • Berlin's inconclusive Kosovo conference
  • April 29, 2019
  • Labour's national executive to vote on second referendum
  • What the debate about electric cars says about Germany
  • 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?
  • April 25, 2019
  • May will go, but probably not until September
  • Waiting for Macron's wow effect