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France 2017
Marine Le Pen’s Frexit Pitch
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  • Eurydice

    Yes, there is need for major reforms, but no will to do them – no will, actually, to even contemplate what they would be. Europe will do the usual, wait until a crisis forces action.

  • Beauceron

    The elites in Europe have an even tighter grip on power– and on the media– than they do even in the US. EU leaders have been openly dismissive of the citizens of European countries and of democracy in general. The desires and the will of average people are openly mocked and rejected. It’s the American Left writ large– the elites know what’s best for you. That it makes them richer and more powerful and citizens poorer and even more removed from having a say in government and those that rule them (not govern, but rule) is the crux of the problem.

    I don’t think anything will make the EU reform, not even a crisis. Look what they did after the monetary/debt crisis– insist that the cure was even more of what caused the disease in the first place. It’s like telling a smoker who has lung cancer the only way to cure themselves is to move up from one pack a day to two packs a day.

    I don’t blame the Brits for wanting out. But I think they will be punished for it heavily– they have to be. EU leadership has openly said that they have to make an example of the UK so that other countries thinking about leaving the Union are too afraid to do so. That makes the EU a sort of “Blood In, Blood Out” gang. There is no escaping in without a beating.

    • CapitalHawk

      I agree, with one exception. I ultimately don’t think Germany will allow the UK to be punished. They will want to punish them, but the Germans are so addicted to exports that they won’t be able to stomach the loss of exports to the UK, which are substantial.

      • Beauceron

        I get that. I also think May’s threat, essentially saying, “Do you want a tax haven right on your doorstep?” was a smart move.
        But in the end, the supporters of the EU project have no choice. They simply cannot allow a nation to leave and keep many of the benefits of the group. They cannot do that because so many countries are eyeing the exit right now.
        They could of course seriously reform the EU, draw the line back a few yards and make it a looser confederation. The UK wouldn’t have left if they were willing to do that. But the elites won’t have it.

    • Curious Mayhem

      The EU’s current structure will be in full collapse before the “euro-elites” have the time or opportunity to implement any punishment. The UK will become an afterthought. The real action will be in France, Germany, and Italy.

  • lukelea

    Didn’t Milton Friedman say the idea of a common European currency was fatally flawed if member states were not required to balance their budgets?

    • Curious Mayhem

      It wasn’t just budget-balancing. The productivity, growth rates, levels of corruption and (in)efficiency, and so on, are widely different across the continent. The common currency could never do anything other than what it did: create an artificial imbalance of weaker southern and peripheral economies borrowing like mad to import the exports of the northern surplus, over-saving countries.

      It continued to work until the overborrowing created a crisis. Portugal, Greece, and Ireland were small enough to cope with through German-funded bailouts. Italy and France cannot be so dealt with. Crisis in one or both countries means the end of the common currency and the open insolvency of much of the eurozone banking system.

      Don’t trust the ratings agencies to warn us either; they’ll downgrade their ratings the day after the bankruptcy, as with Lehmann or Enron.

  • Kevin

    When will Fillon and Macron come up with their plan to reform the Euro and the ECB. The FN may never gain power, but its policy proposals are driving the agenda as the establishment rushes “right” to try to head off the threat and coopt its issues.

    • Curious Mayhem

      It’s similar to the Five Star movement in Italy, which will probably never form a majority government, but which is already in the policy driver’s seat. It has settled on a reasonable position of staying in a reformed EU but leaving the euro. The FN is headed in the same direction. Once its economic slowdown and unfolding demographic disaster hit home, Germany will be there too.

      Et voilà: the three continental majors will have a common program to end the euro. The fight will then become how to reform the EU.

  • Anthony

    “Illiberalism is surging around the world, and the post-Cold War era is rapidly giving way to a post-liberal order….Liberal democracy used to compete with Communism as a global ideology. But today there is no single universal alternative to liberal democracy. To that end, skeptics and autocrats now use a mix of different counter norms and justifications for their democratic transgressions….Still, internationally, democratic norms are embedded in regional institutions (NATO, EU, OSCE, and Council of Europe)….So, what went wrong?…A couple of examples are 1) the fallout of the great financial economic crisis and policy makers’ mishandling of the euro crisis in Greece called into question the economic stability and benefits of EU Membership and 2) the influx of millions of refugees, many of them displaced by the Syria Conflict, unleashed anti-immigration alarms, while mixing nationalism and state sovereignty calls. In particular for some in the West, the illiberal agenda has been folded into the broader framework of anti-globalization, signaling the intent to disengage from multilateral commitments abroad and pursue economic and political nationalism at home.” (Alexander Cooley)

    WRM is correct the world is (and has been) changing fast but “Fast Change” isn’t always real change.

  • PierrePendre

    Recent French presidential elections have tended to feature a providential man who incarnates the longstanding frustration and ambiguity of voter sentiment regarding the two mainstream parties. They have been Le Pen père on the hard right, Lionel Jospin and Ségolène Royal on the socialist left, Jean-luc Mélanchon on the hard left, François Bayrou and now Macron in the social democratic centre. They’ve all been a bust on the night so the French have soldiered on with the frustration and ambiguity that have for 35 years furnished them with anti-reform gridlock and dissatisfaction.

    Macron may do creditably in the first round but he has no real base. He’s Hollande’s creation politically and were he to win the presidency by some outside chance, his centrism would not provide him with a majority in parliament. He’d have to cobble an unreliable coalition from the discredited socialists, the rump of Bayrou supporters, perhaps a Green or two and others and even that might not be enough.

    Whatever she boasts of doing, Le Pen fille will be in exactly the same predicament. The odds are against her winning if she gets through to the second round but if she did win she would also would be a president without a majority since the electoral system is tightly rigged against her National Front. Without a government to do her bidding, she would be powerless as both Mitterrand and Chirac discovered when they were in the same position. So, no Frexit for a start which no president of any political stripe could anyway ever get past the unassailable mafia that is the Parisian establishment.

    It’s not implausible that Marine would be unable to form a government at all that could survive a motion of no confidence in the assemblée nationale and she would be unable to seek a way out through another general election that wouldn’t produce a different result without a change to the electoral system that the other parties would refuse her.

    The likeliest outcome of this election is that Fillon will win the presidency and his Les Républicains party will win a majority in parliament a month later. Together they will trumpet an impressive serious of reforms which will not survive the first Non from the trades unions and their street battalions and everyone in the political élite will settle back into another five years of cosseting number one – i.e. themsselves – while ordinary voters seethe and prepare to commit the same old error in 1921.

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