Elections_France_3Is France heading for a revolution? If she wins the upcoming French presidential elections, Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Front National, has pledged to hold a referendum on membership of the European Union. Hot on the heels of Brexit, some commentators are warning that ‘Frexit’ is no longer inconceivable… and that it could spell the end of the EU.

At this stage, it seems likely that Le Pen will make it to through the first round of voting. However, few are predicting that she will go on to win the presidency because voters on the left and the right will probably join forces to defeat her in the second round. On the other hand, this has been one of the most unusual elections in recent French political history, with several unexpected twists and turns. Could Frexit be next?

We had a comment from Madeleine, who thinks we should all calm down. She’s highly sceptical that Marine Le Pen would really be able to stage her promised referendum even if she won. Madeleine points out that the Front National currently has only 2 MPs in parliament, and that it would be “difficult for her to do anything without a majority at the National Assembly. So she won’t change things…”

To get a response, we put this comment to Joseph Downing, an expert in French nationalism and identity, an Associate at the London School of Economic’s European Institute and a Marie Curie Fellow at Aix-Marseille University in France. Did he agree with Madelein’s comment?

downingYes, I think this is one of the things we often underplay when there are these kind of salacious campaigns. A little bit like Brexit, to be honest, and Donald Trump; I mean, how many days are we into Donald Trump’s presidency? He hasn’t repealed Obamacare; there is no wall along the Mexican border. All of these things he’s promised he basically can’t really deliver on, and the thing with Le Pen is that she can promise domestically to take France out of the Euro, she can promise to cut back the power of Brussels, to cut back on immigration, and to hold a referendum on France’s membership of the EU, but France is not electing a dictator. There are checks and balances on power, and there is quite a diverse National Assembly that represents different voices. Even people on the right in France are not necessarily eurosceptic, nor people on the far left. It’s a much more complex picture. So, Madeleine is actually bang on there with that comment.

However, on the other hand, I think there is an underestimation of the level of euroscepticism in France… I was there when the Brexit result came out and a lot of people were saying to us ‘Oh, yes, Britain’s done a great thing, and the eurocrats are corrupt and all they do is take our money‘. And also there’s a lot of everyday euroscepticism about the euro and how people feel it’s reduced their purchasing power. So, there is definitely an issue there. But whether or not it is something that will translate into political action is a different story…

For another perspective, we also took Madeleine’s comment to Guillaume Liegey, a European Young Leader 2014 and co-founder of Liegey Muller Pons, a political strategy firm that has been working with the campaign of Emmanuel Macron. What would he say?

liegeyI think that, absolutely, if you’re the president you need a majority at the National Assembly, especially if you want to push for a kind of revolutionary agenda; which, if she wanted to leave the European Union it would certainly be a very big change. So, I think two things: Yes, it’s improbable that the FN will have a majority, even if Le Pen is president. Though, it could be possible that some of the conservative MPs would support her on some projects. That’s one thing.

The second is that there’s still a majority of French people who support the European Union. So, in any case, it would be a tough fight and you would have to go through a referendum in addition to being voted by parliament. So, I think that would be a tough sell for her. But, yes, I agree agree with you that it is very hard for a French presdient to govern without a majority. But even if you don’t have a majority you can still try to form alliances on a case-by-case basis.

Finally, we put Madeleine’s comment to Clémentine Forissier, a European Young Leader 2015-2016 and Editor-in-Chief of Contexte, an online newspaper focusing on French and European public policy. How would she reply?

ForissierIf she won the election, Marin Le Pen wouldn’t need a majority at the National Assembly to organise a referendum. She could do it by herself, because she would be the president. It is in Article 11 of our constitution. If she wanted to organise a referendum, she could do it…

It’s also important to point out that none of the candidates in the election can be sure to get a majority to govern. It’s not just Marine Le Pen. If you look at François Fillon, Emmanuel Macron, or Benoît Hamon, our political parties are in a mess on both the right- and left-side of the political spectrum. Emmanuel Macron has the centre, but we don’t really know who’s going to vote for him in the legislative elections. So, it’s not sure at all he will have a majority…

What I can say is that if Le Pen wins the election, it will start a long and hard period of uncertainty, that’s for sure. And the outcome will be bad for France.

Could France hold a referendum on EU membership? Or is the threat of ‘Frexit’ being overstated? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!



101 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • Alexander Tsankov

      Democracy does not work with referendums. Referendums are of use of the person asking the Question.
      For example there is a difference between asking –
      1. Should Britain leave EU?
      2. Should Britain stay in EU?
      3. Should Britain remain a part of the EU?
      and so on. So designing the questions is half winning the referendum. The crowd is the easiest to control.

    • Matej Zaggy Zagorc

      Have to agree with Alexander on this note. A referendum is not proof of democracy, it’s one of the most flawed systems for masquerading democracy. You’re basically asking people with no idea on the subject to make political decisions that can, and usually have, a giant impact on their country and/or society. Not to mention the cost of it.

    • Vytautas Vėžys

      Question is “Could they”. My answer is not if “could” but “should”, even if it’s questionable form of decision making. it’s not about making specific decision, but about political will to give power to people decide how their country should be ruled.
      And I fully agree that referendums could be harmful and deceptive. That’s how we (Lithuania) get into EU: on all channels promoting possible benefits and not telling a world about possible dangers. And after referendum shit started coming up and government excuse was like always: “You should read what are you voting for… Yes, all those thousands of pages of rules and regulations.”
      And most of those fools who voted for EU cause they trusted their government now are grabbing pitchforks to defend EU cause government tells them to do it…

    • Paul X

      @Matej Zaggy Zagorc
      They are only undemocratic if you don’t agree with the result. Assuming you’re claiming there is a large percentage of “people with no idea” then the law of averages means you must also assume their vote would be split 50/50….therefore the remaining minority who do have “some idea” are the ones that influence the result

      With specific regards to Brexit, the only reason a lot of people would have had “no idea” is because the EU has an arrogant, elitist attitude which leads them to believe they do not have to tell the people what they get up to (with their taxes)

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Alexander Tsankov
      What fascistic drivel!

  1. Bobi Dochev

    Everyone could! It is basic democratic right and asking this could only put a question – is there any democracy left in EU!!!

    • Margarida Oulman

      I agree everycountry if it is democratic as they say they are should certainly do it and give the peoples the vote to choose.

  2. Alex Tselentis

    Why not ?? If Europe “claims” to be a DEMOCRATIC continent then holding referendums are healthy for democracy, is democracy not the choice of the people ?? Well then France should and has every right, as do all countries in Europe to hold a referendum.

  3. Ioannis Papadopoulos

    The referendum for Europe is called “presidential elections” in France. It is held every five years. As simple as that.

  4. Henry Visconti

    Interesting to read the second part of the article. “The majority of the French still support the E.U.” This man hasn’t been in the streets, factories restaurants and bars to connect with the people, engage and find out the real truth. The vast majority, as was the case in the U.K. supported the E.E.C. that’s what he really means evident were he to rune a poll of the ordinary Frenchman who hates the E.U., hates the fact that the Country’s Government forged ahead against the will of the people following France’s own referendum. His answers and statements are simply untrue. I live in France and only one in 6 persons has anything good to say about the E.U. That’s the real truth.

    • Tristan Forest

      I am French and living in France too, and I totally disagree with you.

    • Henry Visconti

      Tristan Forest This would depend upon the area in which you live, Tristan.

    • Henry Visconti

      It would also depend upon the social status you hold in society, Tristan.

    • Henry Visconti

      Do you also disagree or not with the refusal of the E.U. to accept the results of the French referendum and ratify even against the will of the French people, Tristan? This interests me, because none of the French people I speak to agree with this and indeed see it as an affront.

    • Dimitri Fiori

      According to polls, 70% of the French wants to remain. Your opinion is completely false.

    • Henry Visconti

      Dimitri Fiori It is the case that a question asked is leading to “how to get the required response”. Ask the right questions and there is a chance the answers will reflect, in a more correct fashion. Ask the wrong question and the answer will reflect the content, especially if leading in its essence. The understanding of the E.U. is not differentiated from/between the understanding of the E.E.C. Two completely different questions, or so they should be. When I speak with my French neighbours, nearly all of them believe that the E.E.C. is the Europe in which they now live. The implications and difference between that which was and that which is is not even considered, they mostly do not have any idea that the two are different, at all. Time for clarity is upon Europe but it thrives on ambiguity instead of transparency, Dimitri. Therefore, it would be opportune to clarify the question asked in order to arrive at the true percentage of pros and cons.

    • Tristan Forest

      About this referendum, can you remind me the question please? I didn’t vote since I was too young for that at this time.

    • Henry Visconti

      The referendum was for the E.U. constitution which the French voted “no” to. As Did the Dutch. Yet it was still ratified, that is not democratic and the French are not pleased with this outcome. So the figure of 70% being expressed by Dimitri, above, is false and does not respect the overwhelming majority of the French people. Unless your friends are politicians, lawyers or other professionals. The percentage of French peoples opinions are not based upon factual unambiguous questions, the Question are set by the State in a manner to solicit the opinion the State wishes its citizens to express, yet it was still unable to convince the French voters in respect to and of the European Constitution referendum which the State lost but still allowed the E.U. to ratify.

    • Paddie J McHugh

      So Mr Henry, I’m such a smart arse,Visconti! Your verbal technicolour yawn,look that one up Mr know it all! Makes you sound like a pompous arrogant twat face! Now shut the fuck up!!!

    • Tristan Forest

      I am sorry but there is no constitution in the European Union. This is a lie.
      These’s been a treaty shortly after, that’s true, but a treaty is not a constitution.
      Saying “no” to a constitution does not mean “let’s get out of the UE”.

    • Henry Visconti

      The French referendum on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was held on 29 May 2005 to decide whether France should ratify the proposed Constitution of the European Union. The result was a victory for the “No” campaign, with 55% of voters rejecting the treaty on a turnout of 69%. The treaty was ratified by the E.U. against the wishes of Holland and France. I think you need to study a little more history, you have too much misinformation in your head.

    • Henry Visconti

      Tristan Forest Following a period of reflection, the Treaty of Lisbon was created to replace the Constitutional Treaty. This contained many of the changes that were originally placed in the Constitutional Treaty but was formulated as amendments to the existing treaties. Signed on 13 December 2007, the Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009. The change of name to the treaty of Lisbon ensured that no further referendum could be called for and the original treaty was ratified under the name of “The Lisbon Treaty” the content of which was voted via referendum with an emphatic “No” Therefore the Lisbon treaty became the Constitution of Europe. That is the history of the matter and is an indisputable fact. You are free to deny its existence, of course, however, it is now ratified, both Holland and France had a referendum both said no but the E.U. ratified it anyway. Not nice news. No, it isn’t and you are not alone in not knowing anything about the treaty because the majority of the rest of France has never heard of the creation of a constitution, either.

    • Henry Visconti

      Tristan Forest Oh dear Tristan, you are a Google expert, welcome to the real true world of politics.

    • Henry Visconti

      Tristan Forest And good luck with Google.

    • Tristan Forest

      I don’t use Google but Qwant most of the time. And I read newspapers.

    • Henry Visconti

      Same thing. If you want the truth about the European Constitution, read the Maastricht Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty, the latter was the draft and ratified version of the former and was enacted into E.U. law, whether the French, Dutch, Irish or Danish said no to the earlier version, via referendum. The E.U. constitution consists of full “non-reversible” political and monetary union of the member states whose majority “No” in referendum represented more that 53% of the population of Europe. This is not acceptable democracy and the E.U. has, in fact, insulted the European electorate with its push forward even against the will of the people. Mostly this is due to German pressure and eventually it will lead to the failure of the currency and the Union. 5 years left and the E.U. will force Europe into the biggest recession since 1934. Then things will change.

    • Tristan Forest

      And guess what? In the surveys the candidates have these vote intentions:
      Pro EU: Macron 26%, Fillon 17%, Hamon 10%.
      For huge reforms/cons: Le Pen 25,5%, Mélanchon 15%, Dupont-Aignan 4%.
      For exit of the EU: only Asselineau, 0,5%.
      Ifop-Fiducial, 30/03/2017 to 03/04/2017.

      12/04/2017 Philippe Marliere, Professor of French and European Politics at University College London, has responded to this comment.

    • Dragos-Ronald Rugescu

      As has been said before, the EU does not have a constitution, it wasn’t ratified, and the agreement was to abandon it and its spirit, therefore the treaty of Lisbon, while containing all the good parts, does not contain those provisions which angered the Dutch and the French, mainly the establishment of a unique federal entity. You are misrepresenting facts. While it is true that the federalist movement still pushes for this, and the EU is certainly undemocratic in some respects, you are suffering from a fairly common delusion. It’s OK, it happens in every country at some point. People you elect do nasty stuff and then you disregard your responsibility. If the French people are truly anti-European (as crazy as that sounds since the EU is basically France and Germany) then elect MEPs and a president and a party to pull you out of the entity you helped create and of which you are firmly in control.
      Otherwise you are spewing nonsense.
      We too have people in Romania who cry over being taken for fools by the very same politicians they elect every 4/5 years.

    • Henry Visconti

      Tristan Forest Why do you find the voting intentions of any importance? Voting intentions have never, in the history of politics, influenced the electorate’s view point. As it is, it is a miracle if an electoral promise is ever maintained, anywhere in the world. Politicians are pathological liars, self-serving and sycophantic, their own best interests is what they truly serve and the track record is demonstrable, in every Government in the world. They are not, by enlarge, nice people.

    • Henry Visconti

      Dragos-Ronald Rugescu In answer, the key was for the final Country to agree to enactment as only absolute consensus permits full adhesion under the terms and rules of the E.U. a clause of veto also being removed from all Countries to prevent any further electoral revolution from the electorate against the E.U, however, the parts missing which you mention were not linked to federalisation, at all. Ireland had points, as did the Dutch the French and the Danes, this latter rejected the whole. Once the new terms were agreed anew, the French and the Dutch should have been given new referendum in order to solidify the deal, they were not and the reason they were not is because the politicians feared/knew they would, once again lose the vote, democracy, go figure, therefore, the Lisbon Treaty was pushed through, via the back door. The constitution that every one denies exists does exist, de facto and by default, there is no question that the E.U. is not a federal entity, even Bruxelles will confirm that it is. A good Chinese magician once said: “Beware that, that which you are made to see, isn’t that which is desired you see by the magician” slight of hand in politics is a form of slight of terminology, different words are used to convey differing and acceptable dogma, depending upon the state of paranoia of an individual people. Choosing one’s words well so as not to upset, to an extent, politics with diplomacy. I do not in any way attempt to misrepresent the issues which is why I have fully read both Treaties and the amendments and they are completely undemocratic, indeed Oligarchic in essence falling short of a form of dictatorship from a centralised non-elected team of “Super” functionaries. The dangers to democracy of such Orwellian powers saw the birth of Nazi Germany and the onset of the 2nd world war in which circa 68 Million people died. So I do not share the lackadaisical “fait accomplis” which many others do. I feel a red flag is being flashed at bulls, I see where it can go wrong, history is a great teacher, if we allow it to be so. “This time we’ll get it right!!” Oh the plans of mice and men, roads paved with good intentions, one might say. I just cannot agree because I do trust the lessons of history and I certainly cannot bring myself to trust politicians. Their ulterior motives and personal gains for a continuance of the E.U. run into many hundreds of thousands of Euros P.A. whereas back home, they’d probably be out of a job. The wages and expenses of an E.U. politician who doesn’t even pay the normal rate of tax on earning, shamefully, and no tax whatsoever on expenses, circa 50% of a hidden income, tells me an unpleasant story. Imagine, one man, a simple elected representative of his/her constituents, most of whom are either unemployed or pensioners, earning more in a year than the electorate who put him/her there can earn in a lifetime. That is just one of the many unhealthy aspects of the E.U. Spewing nonsense is harsh, have you read the Treaties in question, the amendments the Twelve thousand double pages of articles, if so you would be as concerned as I am, I have to assume that you have not read them. It would bode you well to do so because I believe that you, too, would be concerned. To state the the E.U. is France and Germany, as per your assertion, is a frightening mind-set and should be remembered by the rest of the “Equal” partners whom you have omitted to include in said union, they would be shocked but I am not.

  5. Henry Visconti

    Interesting to read the second part of the article. “The majority of the French still support the E.U.” This man hasn’t been in the streets, factories restaurants and bars to connect with the people, engage and find out the real truth. The vast majority, as was the case in the U.K. supported the E.E.C. that’s what he really means evident were he to run a poll of the ordinary Frenchman who hates the E.U., hates the fact that the Country’s Government forged ahead against the will of the people following France’s own referendum. His answers and statements are simply untrue. I live in France and only one in 6 persons has anything good to say about the E.U. That’s the real truth.

    • Tristan Forest

      And guess what? In the surveys the candidates have these vote intentions:
      Pro EU: Macron 26%, Fillon 17%, Hamon 10%.
      For huge reforms/cons: Le Pen 25,5%, Mélanchon 15%, Dupont-Aignan 4%.
      For exit of the EU: only Asselineau, 0,5%.
      Ifop-Fiducial, 30/03/2017 to 03/04/2017.

    • Henry Visconti

      Dragos-Ronald Rugescu In answer, the key was for the final Country to agree to enactment as only absolute consensus permits full adhesion under the terms and rules of the E.U. a clause of veto also being removed from all Countries to prevent any further electoral revolution from the electorate against the E.U, however, the parts missing which you mention were not linked to federalisation, at all. Ireland had points, as did the Dutch the French and the Danes, this latter rejected the whole. Once the new terms were agreed anew, the French and the Dutch should have been given new referendum in order to solidify the deal, they were not and the reason they were not is because the politicians feared/knew they would, once again lose the vote, democracy, go figure, therefore, the Lisbon Treaty was pushed through, via the back door. The constitution that every one denies exists does exist, de facto and by default, there is no question that the E.U. is not a federal entity, even Bruxelles will confirm that it is. A good Chinese magician once said: “Beware that, that which you are made to see, isn’t that which is desired you see by the magician” slight of hand in politics is a form of slight of terminology, different words are used to convey differing and acceptable dogma, depending upon the state of paranoia of an individual people. Choosing one’s words well so as not to upset, to an extent, politics with diplomacy. I do not in any way attempt to misrepresent the issues which is why I have fully read both Treaties and the amendments and they are completely undemocratic, indeed Oligarchic in essence falling short of a form of dictatorship from a centralised non-elected team of “Super” functionaries. The dangers to democracy of such Orwellian powers saw the birth of Nazi Germany and the onset of the 2nd world war in which circa 68 Million people died. So I do not share the lackadaisical “fait accomplis” which many others do. I feel a red flag is being flashed at bulls, I see where it can go wrong, history is a great teacher, if we allow it to be so. “This time we’ll get it right!!” Oh the plans of mice and men, roads paved with good intentions, one might say. I just cannot agree because I do trust the lessons of history and I certainly cannot bring myself to trust politicians. Their ulterior motives and personal gains for a continuance of the E.U. run into many hundreds of thousands of Euros P.A. whereas back home, they’d probably be out of a job. The wages and expenses of an E.U. politician who doesn’t even pay the normal rate of tax on earning, shamefully, and no tax whatsoever on expenses, circa 50% of a hidden income, tells me an unpleasant story. Imagine, one man, a simple elected representative of his/her constituents, most of whom are either unemployed or pensioners, earning more in a year than the electorate who put him/her there can earn in a lifetime. That is just one of the many unhealthy aspects of the E.U. Spewing nonsense is harsh, have you read the Treaties in question, the amendments the Twelve thousand double pages of articles, if so you would be as concerned as I am, I have to assume that you have not read them. It would bode you well to do so because I believe that you, too, would be concerned. To state that the E.U. is France and Germany, as per your assertion, is a frightening mind-set and should be remembered by the rest of the “Equal” partners whom you have omitted to include in said union, they would be shocked but I am not.

  6. Besnik Mufali

    france has always been pushing things forward for good when the rest of the world went down. the reminiscence , the revolution ect. i don’t think france will fall in this dark , nacionalist, ignorance times where the world is going .

    • Alex Tselentis

      Since when does not beloning to a POLITICAL union, not make you “European” ?? LOL

  7. Franck Néo Legon

    In fact France already did in 2005, and voted No to the EU at 54%, but the politicians acted just as if it never happened and pushed further into EU integration against the people’s will.

  8. Keith Barrington Barnes

    I live in central France in a former a socialist heartland where the FN now has 40% of the council seats.

    I campaign in the local market speaking with people the the situation is clear. People feel forgotten by the central government and they believe that Brussels is preventing solutions. They only believe this because they have no idea what projects are already being made via numerous initiatives.

    Also, let’s put something in perspective. In 2005 the French voted no to the european constitution. That would have created a central document where national constitutions then had to be subservient (think US federal constitution versus state constitutions). This was voted down. National leaders then passed a number of the same changes through in the Lisbon Treaty.

    Call it what you want but it was passed by national leaders, it wasn’t imposed.

    The structure of the EU remains built on national acquiescence with affairs remaining the remit of nations until passed to Brussels (think Swiss central government versus cantons).

    The question is clear to me. When will French national leaders push through real change? I think we’re about to see serious change as long as Benoit Hamon doesn’t become president, and there’s every chance we won’t be.

    #jevotemacron #macronpresident

    19/04/2017 Philippe Marliere, Professor of French and European Politics at University College London, has responded to this comment.
    19/04/2017 Paul Smith, Associate Professor in French and Francophone Studies at the University of Nottingham, has responded to this comment.

  9. Miki La Malice

    we here in France we are less than ever into EU, I would say 30% of population really supports EU, 50% at least are definitely against, and the rest doesn’t really care. Reading the public opinions polls for presidency, you will understand that 50% minimum of the votes will go to anti-EU candidates. Change shall the game, or EU is over.

  10. Keith Barnes

    I live in central France in a former a socialist heartland where the FN now has 40% of the council seats.

    I campaign in the local market speaking with people the the situation is clear. People feel forgotten by the central government and they believe that Brussels is preventing solutions. They only believe this because they have no idea what projects are already being made via numerous initiatives.

    Also, let’s put something in perspective. In 2005 the French voted no to the european constitution. That would have created a central document where national constitutions then had to be subservient (think US federal constitution versus state constitutions). This was voted down. National leaders then passed a number of the same changes through in the Lisbon Treaty.

    Call it what you want but it was passed by national leaders, it wasn’t imposed.

    The structure of the EU remains built on national acquiescence with affairs remaining the remit of nations until passed to Brussels (think Swiss central government versus cantons).

    The question is clear to me. When will French national leaders push through real change? I think we’re about to see serious change as long as Benoit Hamon doesn’t become president, and there’s every chance we won’t be.

    #jevotemacron #macronpresident

  11. Baptiste Lonlon

    Take it easy, calm down. Only one candidate (a marginal one), wants to call for a referendum. But serious candidates want to engage deep negotiations for a new treaty, to change the neoliberal nature of eu, and to create an union set up for cooperation rather than for competition. If the EU is able to evolve (which i doubt seriously), it will continue on new basis.

    • Baptiste Lonlon

      Tu dois surement parler de la gueule de tes arguments?

    • Baptiste Lonlon

      Ah je comprends mieux, Asselineau. Alors sache cher m. Trou du cul, qur je n ai rien contre lui. Peut etre que c est le terme marginal qui t as pousse a afficher ta haine de prepubert avec tant de verve, mais ce terme veut simolement dire qu il n a aucune chance de l emporter. Je le repete, je n ai rien contre lui, mais son vrai probleme c est qu il est soutenu par malheureusement beaucoup trop de M. Trou du cul. A bon entendeur, le jour ou t auras des neurones, on parlera de ca autour d une biere.

    • Aiko Maeda

      marginal one ? if you are talking about marine lepen, she’s a bit more than marginal, she actually lead the elections…..
      and tbh many frenchs want to quit this mascarade

    • Baptiste Lonlon

      She doesn t want to hold a referendum directly. It s the B plan. Like for the others

  12. Danny Boy

    Holding referendums in France is as pointless as holding them in the Netherlands or Ireland,if the politicians don’t get the result they want they’ll just make the people vote again until they do.
    To be fair it’s not their EU membership that’s the problem,their problem is they simply can’t exist inside the Euro,and if they remain in it the only question will be is if they or Italy are the first to go bankrupt.

  13. Nicolas Serge

    Well! This is a good debate! It needs to be constructive! We all want a Strong Europe. Any further instability in Europe could affect the whole Europe, it could affect US.

  14. Nicolas Serge

    But we also need to be realistic and understand the different views in Europe. It seems like US, Competitiveness (Prosperity)-Security and Identity are becoming the major stakes of elections in Europe including France.

  15. Nicolas Serge

    About Competitiveness, if Germany is competitive because they’ve implemented the required structural, behavioral and trade reforms in order to upgrade in value chains, it’s the case the for Europe and the European’s southern countries.

  16. Nicolas Serge

    As a result, if strong currency (Europ) is not an obstacle to the competitiveness of Germany, it’s for France and the European’s southern countries. In my article: ” The impact of TTIP on the competitiveness of US-EU SMEs”, I’ve mentioned the gap of productivity with the European’s northern and southern countries.

  17. Nicolas Serge

    Europe is High cost, High rent and High income region. Unfortunately, France has continued to have a competitive advantage in downstreaml and middle stream activities. Therefore, they could boost their competitiveness if they leave Eurozone. However, by leaving the Eurozone, France needs to be sure that it won’t stimulate high inflation rate and welfare cuts. Furthermore, as France does not invest too much in R&D, their current productivity is not enough to compensate the consequence of the leave. So to speak, even if they leave the Eurozone, it’s not sure that everything will be fine for them.

    • Tristan Forest

      The German, British and American workers have jobs but no money ?

    • Nicolas Serge

      Well, I hope to have more data about that! But I think that they’ve jobs and money even if we can’t avoid the current polarization of US economy that we’re doing all our best to fix.

    • Tristan Forest

      Yes, of course it is a debate: to create more low cost jobs to restart the economy or to have a slower growth to keep better jobs?
      For example, I remember these numbers: in a hand, the German workers all have jobs (4-5% of unemployment), when over 20% of te French workers are unemployed. In the other hand, 22% of the German workers are poor and only 8% of the French workers are.

      The explanation of the differences between the incomes is a bit the differences of salaries, and also the amount of part time jobs.

      This situation is acceptable in France even if it looks crazy because there is a high social protection.

      I am sorry but I read it in a newspaper a few days ago and my research to find it again has been unsuccessful, so I am not able to tell you what is my source.

  18. Nicolas Serge

    However, they could remain in the Eurozone and EU and ask for more flexibility, sovereignty (independence), security (border security). or leave Eurozone and the EU 5 to 10 years and implement the require transformation and come back when they’ll be ready. Many experts are suggesting two Eurozones: One for the European northern countries and another for the European southern countries.

  19. Nicolas Serge

    So, it’ belongs to them, to debate in a constructive manner and find solutions. There’s no need to be addicted to the brexit and trump contagion effects because every given country has its own specifity and reality.

  20. Nicolas Serge

    And for this election, Marine lepen has a chance to win. She needs more pedagogy on her agenda! She needs to explain and convince.

    • Brian Milne

      Throughout your comments your analysis is very thin, a good amount of what is becoming known as ‘whataboutery’ predominates. On the Le Pen point, yes she could win but in the elections to follow would be very unlikely to gain even a fraction of the support required to have any kind of parliamentary support or power. What she says is more vacuous than feasible.

      There is already a sizeable group working on and pushing for some radical reforms within the EU. A ‘voluntary’ two layer EU is one possibility, with the wealthier top layer becoming closer. However, the Euro is projected to remain the single currency with more support for the second layer that would aim at raising all back to a single layer in the long run. Thus far the EU has lacked collective ambitions because it has been a union of states too far apart to function, with a bureaucracy that is at odds with itself and no actual binding constitution and ‘federal’ legal structure. Do not be mistaken in believing the existing structures fulfil those functions. It is rapidly being accepted that the principle of ‘closer union’ needs to be put into practice but without try to merge member states into a single superstate. National constitutions and legal systems will stay in place but a single, federal structure will connect them and help them work together. Behind all of this is a growing business, especially finance, sector that is poised to take full advantage of Brexit and the City becoming dispersed. Where the financial sector moves, trade follows and where they go manufacturing industries also follow. The German economy is strong but needs to encourage partner economies to grow so that the entire bloc has far more trade potential, which EU economists, financiers and entrepreneurs already know and are pushing for. So watch Merkel or her successor relax the ‘reins’ on France and the ‘low countries’ as they work toward matching German success. Do not underrate Spain, the potential is there but under exploited, and Italy may be a mess at present but with the right support would be back in the core group very quickly. Some of the others would follow, others would be slower, some may never make the grade. However the reformers are well aware of that and here the two layer proposition has considerable support. If that happens, then all bets on predictions of EU collapse and disappearance are off.

    • Nicolas Serge

      I’m optimistic about EU. It’s not the first crisis, it won’t be the last and at the end, they’ll continue to grow. I’m happy that an ecosystem is into place and working hard to fix the situation. What’s beautiful with our democracy and west is the existence of experts that are working hard to fix things.

    • Nicolas Serge

      Let’s do it in a constructive manner.

    • Nicolas Serge

      All of the European countries have significant potential. It’s simply a question of Strategy particularly for the European southern, central and eastern countries.

    • Nicolas Serge

      The major challenge of Europe, beyond the recent 2008 financial crisis has been the mismatch within the society and productive life cycles on the one hand and the adoption of effective Citizen-centric and Territory-centric Development Model on the second hand.

    • Nicolas Serge

      Europe belongs to High cost, High rent and High income region that is called to have a competitive advantage in upstream economy. If it’s the case for the European core countries, it’s not the case for the European central, eastern and southern countries that continued to have a competitive advantage in downstream and middle stream activitiies.

    • Nicolas Serge

      The time has come to build the European integration by the Europeans, for the Europeans and with the Europeans. Furthermore, try to capture the max of opportunities offered by the economic integrattion throughout the adoption of effective export-oriented and vertically-specialized industrialization processes that accelerates the integration of peripheral countries into the European and global productive structures.

  21. Gino Grano

    France is a province of Israel!
    ps: It looks on Google concerning to this and you cry if you still have tears!

  22. pilit

    I think French underestimate immensely the incompetence and corruption of the French local government system. Basically the hundreds of thousands of government officials (because they are officials and not civil servants and thus above their citizens) are incompetent, generate unnecessary bureaucracy, which results in inefficient services, are unproductive and generally do a fraction of the work they could be doing. Not that efficiency is high in the agenda of french workers, perhaps automation is high but worker’s efficiency and competense is generally dreadful

  23. Catherine Luciani

    1) Le pen can’t win, 2) we already had a referendum in 2005 about the european project of Constitution, we voted NO, BUT President Sarkozy overridded .3) No president will ask us the question again and i really think we prefer staying in Europ, definitively, even if we complain about the lack of transparency and democracy.

    • Jesse Craignou

      Le Pen CAN -and should- win !

      2005 was 12 years ago… many things have happened since then that have promoted the patriot feeling…

    • Georges Glykofrydis

      France out of EU it’s a lie. France it’s EU him self. There is no possibility to make an FRexit. Frexit means that EU will no longer exist. And Euro also. And this is not possible in any way. No one can decide over an economic power as EU. Aka France and Germany together. And Italy Spain also.
      That’s the facts. Simple as that.

    • Alex Tselentis

      Le Pen cant win ?? Funny the polls have her way ahead, you THINK France wnats to stay, well let the FRENCH PEOPLE vote and decide, if youre all about “transparency and democracy” then why not have a referendum. ;)

    • Alex Tselentis

      Georges Glykofrydis EU is run by Germany, not France buddy ;)

    • Catherine Luciani

      Alex Tselentis what i mean is that no President whoever he is, will take the risk of proposing a referendum he could loose……All the french politicians learnt the lesson of 2005.

    • Georges Glykofrydis

      French people are not suffering from self-destroy syndrome. Voting against Euro is a suicide for France. Destroy EU is a suicide for France. EU is not Germany alone. Do the maths. And French people are very good mathematicians believe me.

      Referendums are not democracy and trasparency. They are blackmail. Blackmailing a population who suffer from terrorism ecc, it’s easy. Democracy is the hard way. But it’s the right way.

    • Catherine Luciani

      Actually, when we have a referendum, we don’t answer to THE question but against the Government, it’s a kind of “defouloir”…

    • Bernd Zerker

      YES for a Frogxit ! Sortons ce cloaque de merde qu’est la france, de l’europe.

  24. Karolina

    I don’t think it will. May and Johnson are already trying to plug the wholes in the Titanic but the water will soon be pouring in.

    • Karolina

      holes

  25. catherine benning

    They should, but, this will only be carried out if the people of france, en masse, decide they must have it.

    The politicians invariably will not. The EU gravy train is too big for them to dare jump off. Which is why the British Parliament find accepting the democratic vote of the citizen a thorn in their craw. They don’t like democracy, it could be their demise.

  26. Marios Nicolaou

    A referendum should take place in every single EU member state.

    It is time for the people to speak.

    The politicians know very well that all will vote OUT of EU and that scares them.

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