This Sunday, the first round of the French Presidential election will take place. The result, if frontrunner French Socialist candidate François Hollande wins (as widely predicted), could be a shift to the left for one of the most powerful countries in Europe. This would mark a change in the fortunes of Europe’s centre-left, which have endured a losing-streak since the 2008 financial crisis broke, so that now a majority of EU member-states are currently run by centre-right governments.

Mr Hollande is reported to have a decisive lead of around 10 percentage points and is likely to win the second round of votes, due to be held on 6 May, if none of the candidates get more than half the votes in the first round on Sunday. Last week, both Hollande and Sarkozy gathered their supporters in two big rallies in Paris. Whilst Hollande called Sarkozy’s term in office “five years of injustice and austerity”, the incumbent French President conceded that the European Central Bank should do more to revive economic growth. Not, of course, a narrative that will enormously please German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has consistently supported ECB independence. Whoever wins, could we be about to witness a shift away from an austerity-based approach to economic recovery?

How do YOU think French elections will affect the EU? Will France have a socialist government soon? How would this influence the negotiations over the new “rule book” for the Eurozone, currently being led by centre-right leaders? And if Sarkozy is re-elected instead, will the French relationship with Germany be forever altered? What happens to “Merkozy”? Let us know your comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – radiowood2000

31 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    Nikolai Holmov

    It is purely a matter for the French.

    The casual effects of any change in French policy will be dealt with the the other 26 Member States as and when they happen.

    France is part of the EU but that does not necessarily equate to the EU being part of France to the French voter. The EU therefore will have to roll with the French voters punches.

    Without doubt, that means an end to Sarkozy very soon.

  2. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Interesting to see how the Franco-German axis will evolve (if it does) and how those two will affect Europe, if Sarkozy loses…. I will be watching this one…

  3. avatar
    MandyandPj Leneghan

    Well socialism = civilization but in todays Orwellian world, who knows what it means. There is no doubt in my mind, whilst observing the communities at large, the most common sentiment is nationalist and fairly extreme at that. Incited not by nationalist political parties for their access to publicity is strictly controlled but that incitement comes from what are referred to as main stream, who recognise the nationalist sentiment and attempt to exloit it. So called mainstream political parties are so bankrupt ideology wise that their lying ways have run their course. It is only a matter of time, the race is on between real socialists and believe it or not, national socialists. Real socialists will need to have a good look at themselves and realize that instead of trying to work within this mafia kind of monopoly capitalism, it is this entire system/economic model that needs to be replaced by a civilized one, a peoples one, a socialist one. The nationalists on the other hand are quite clear on what their mission is, the ONLY thing holding them back is media control. Anything can happen in Europe, which appears to be totally out of control, well out Europe’s and citizen control anyway…pj

  4. avatar
    Angelos Pappas

    In 1981 the socialist Mitterand was elected president in France. For about 3 years he was experimenting with socialist economic policies but he really screwed things up. So, in 1983 Mitterand’s government made a complete u-turn in economic policies (known also as austerity turn), giving priority to issues such as fighting inflation etc. This turn from ‘socialdemocrat’ to ‘liberal’ policies saved the French economy and moved the EU forward (they found common ground with the German economic policies that eventually led to the Maastricht Treaty). Well, let’s hope that the French voters (and Hollande in case he gets elected) don’t forget that part of their economic history. Experimenting with socialist policies could be catastrophic in times of crisis. On the other hand, Sarkozy is way too right-wing and conservative when it comes to social issues, although I think he’s just overacting just to gather some votes.

  5. avatar
    MandyandPj Leneghan

    I see NO evidence where monopoly capitalism or so called liberalisation worked or is working. What you saw and see was/is similar to someone re mortgaging their property, obtaining a loan many times the value of that property, then went on a monopoly capitalist series of world cruises. Now back in the real world, property all gone, money all gone, the debts still need repaying but no job, no income, everything else sold, mind you there are still the kids, wonder what they are worth. Also those neigbours, they have some valuables left, lets invade them and steal their goodies. THIS is where we are at today. Which was entirely predictable and which real socialists pointed to at the time. Where to now? Third world war, that would fix it? OR why not wise up and recognise that if the capitalist economic model, especially this criminal controlled one does not meet the needs of the people, then it is this economic model that must be discarded and not the people. And replaced by one with cooperation as its driver as opposed to competition. Socialism = civilization and capitalism = barbarianism, it is that simple. (bit rough from a mobile phone)…pj

  6. avatar
    Craig Willy

    It’s not clear. Sarkozy’s and Hollande’s ideas about the eurozone are far closer than were Merkel and Sarkozy’s (see Presseurop’s “Merkozy is finished”

    Both Hollande and Sarkozy apparently want to reform the ECB and I don’t know which would be in a better position to do so. The Hollande win would mean a reform to the Fiskalkompakt, but it probably won’t mean much in practice (like Jospin’s reform of the S&G pact).

    Politically, an Hollande win would be very interesting because it would mean the Left would cease to be completely non-existent at the EU level. There would be a clear French leadership of the centre-left “EU opposition”, around which other countries might coalesce (Belgium, Bulgaria, Austria, Denmark perhaps even centre-right countries like Spain and Italy that are being ruined by the Merkozy consensus).

  7. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Hello. I think a Socialist President will be so useful for France and Europe and the World.Because Merkozy is responsible from the euro crisis,therefore Merkozy has to pay the penalty.Besides,Europe need a recover politic all social classes. Now on the time is regulations for the economies of Europe,especially on the banks. If in the banks of the zone on euro check and balance district,Europe will be able end crisis for themselves. Best wishes,

  8. avatar
    Angelos P.

    In 1981 the socialist Mitterand was elected president of France. For about 3 years he was experimenting with socialist economic policies but he really screwed things up. So, in 1983 Mitterand’s government made a complete u-turn in economic policies (known also as austerity turn), giving priority to issues such as fighting inflation etc. This turn from ‘socialdemocrat’ to ‘liberal’ policies saved the French economy and moved the EU forward (they found common ground with the German economic policies that eventually led to the Maastricht Treaty). Well, let’s hope that the French voters (and Hollande in case he gets elected) don’t forget that part of their economic history. Experimenting with socialist policies could be catastrophic in times of crisis. On the other hand, Sarkozy is way too right-wing and conservative when it comes to social issues, although I think he’s overacting just to gather some votes.

  9. avatar
    Albert Saxén

    I don’t get this
    First, we dnt want a socialist. but Then.. Merkozy is not going anywhere?

    pj real socialism?
    keeping ppl locked up behind walls w/ machine guns three’s your socialism.
    you make a valid pt. If Obama wins he will start WWIIII.
    It is entirely in line w the guy’s ego
    yea, crony capitalism. But is greed. Not capitalism
    This yr WILL see the replacement of our global econ system ..with smth better.

    in Election actually it was Carter that midwifed the mortgage mess and
    which Clinton tried to tighten up a lil’ on but the Democrats in congress didn’t want to, our party
    (being ideology not nationality) the one that the world most relates to
    The meltdown that ensued was caused by avarice, greed nothing else.

  10. avatar
    Albert Saxén

    socialism = communism.
    dnt mix populism w nationalism..if it is that, fair enough. But then, natl interest shldnt be confounded w it either.
    da prob is that you view socialism thru a romantic lense.

  11. avatar
    Karl Bugeja

    I would like to point out the lack of knowledge some individuals have. Socialist governments in Spain and Greece have disintegrated because of their corruption and mismanagement of the government and not because of implementing one ideology or another. Both center right and center left ideologies offer pros and cons which both aim to strive and achieve the best for their citizens.

    Policies where implemented wrongly and brought a national outcry within their countries, other countries such as Italy ( center right government under Berlusconi) brought big handicaps to its citizens, not because the ideology is wrong but because bureaucratic people took over and bulldozed everything and everyone in order to cater their personal needs.

  12. avatar

    I think France have done very well in times of crisis. Sarkozy is just like his predecessors a very capable man. no need for changes yet. His task is to show the French electorate the urgency of this matter. And that is very tricky since it concerns labor. Labor rights are traditionally not for debate in French politics, but times have changed i guess. Somebody has to kick this door in and wake up the crowd.

  13. avatar
    Aleksandar Djelosevic

    President Sarkozy sees himself as a street fighter up against a weak opponent who lacks guts, and his strategy is simple: Attack the man, attack the program, attack the party. Mr. Sarkozy is arguing that even if the French do not always like him, they need him. If you combine an election of Franois Hollande with a worsening economic situation, no improvement in Spain, and a possible new downgrade of France by the ratings agencies, there is a high likelihood that France?s borrowing costs will also rise. Hollande promises to raise 29 billion euros in new revenue while lifting spending by 20 billion euros. A main Hollande plank includes introducing a 75 percent marginal tax rate on individual income above 1 million euros and forgoing the planned increase in the value-added tax. And rather than cut the government payroll, he has pledged to expand it by hiring 60,000 civil servants and teachers. Mr. Hollande would also reverse changes to the pension system instituted under Mr. Sarkozy, by pushing the retirement age back to 60, from 62. That platform is why many foreign investors are hoping for Mr. Hollande?s electoral defeat. But some predictions said that Hollande will win 56% of votes against 44% for Sarkozy in the second round vote on 6 May. Instead of Sarkozy Merkell alliance, perhaps we will be witness of new one Franois Hollande of the PS or Socialist Party, in France, and Sigmar Gabriel of the SPD or Social Democratic party of Germany.

  14. avatar
    Omar Mateiro

    It shouldn’t affect anything. We need to learn how to work together. They are a reality as well as we are.

  15. avatar
    MandyandPj Leneghan

    There is no doubt that socialism cannot work…. under the kind of capitalism that we have today. Agreed that we do not really have free market capitalism as such, what we have is a monopolized totalitarian economic system, owned and controlled by a relatively few corporations and individuals who claim it to be a free market capitalist system and we are told that there is no choice. Well there is a choice, under monopoly capitalism, human beings are allowed to exist but merely to serve the corporations or under socialism/social democracy, do we the people allow corporations to exist but only if they serve the people. If Hollande is stating that he will reverse the trend to increase the age of retirement, then that is a logical and rational move, as would be cutting working hours, from where they are now down to about 20-25 hours a week. This will allow all able citizens to participate in their communities. OF COURSE foreign so called investors won’t like that but are we on this planet to satisfy the ambitions and greed of the few? If you take a careful and rational view of the picture, all that citizens actually require are homes, food and services, that is it AND that is all 99% of citizens can ever hope for. Does it take a global totalitarian regime to provide that? Absolutely not! Neither does it take wars. Nope, socialism cannot work, under this mafia controlled economic model that is being shoved down our throats, which means that it is this system that must be discarded. The question is, who chooses the economic model, the current owners or the 99%? FACT…there are choices….pj

    • avatar

      With all due respect, I think you are talking television nonsense when you say only a few corporations control it all. Sure some mighty ones do have too much power. Socialism doesn’t work that is true but for other reasons than you state. It does not work because it is based on power to the ones who don’t take any risks and are not the innovators. Companies provide for work. And they need good people. Companies can survive if they make profit. If they do not they go bankrupt and let people go hence unemployment. What socialism does is depict the employers as “The Enemy” that exploits them. That kind of populism sells well, however, why would employers take risks if they cannot survive in the socialist world? You get companies that quit. And next you get a lot of unemployment. And next you get countries that totally collapse. Because socialism destroys the hands that feed the people. But when that happens, the socialistic leaders are loooong gone with their pockets filled big, both left and right. As it turns out, the most cases of corruption worldwide were involving… socialists. Wherever money was stolen from the people, socialists were involved. Helmut Köhl once said: “It is easier to guide a dog past a Hot dog merchant than socialist past a pile of money. Margaret Thatcher said: Socialist government usually do make a financial mess. Eventually they always run out of other people’s money…

      You need to understand companies NEED employees and epmloyees need companies. True, filthy greed is to be punished. It is not fair that people have to pay for the greed of banks and in fact, all the money banks obtained from the governments should procentually be subtracted from any loans the people may have had.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      Forgive me, but, I think you are full of it.

      There are only a few corporations and people who have the planet dancing to their tune. Where is your back up. Provide some statistics.

      However, if you wan to you can use mine.

      And this goes on another platform of the same problem.

      And how they keep it quiet.

      So wise up, do your research and dont take the world for idiots.

  16. avatar
    Brieuc Michiels

    Yep … True story there, Capitalism is not a finality… not a goal in itself… It’s just a choice of society… In fact nothing that we cannot change !

  17. avatar
    MandyandPj Leneghan

    True Brieuc, it is a choice of society or should be and not to be confused or compared to any other systems that have appeared in the past. No doubt there will be people that will attempt to do that but a social system can provide for the needs of all people if managed from a human point of view and at the same time, allow for individuals to reach above those needs, where there is capacity and opportunity to do so but not at the expense of the whole, as is the case today. There are certainly more choices available than just the current system….pj

  18. avatar
    Efrossiny Exarchoulakou

    presidential election in france mean a democratic europe which represents the ideals and dreams of our ancestors we have developed ourselves in that way in order to become the bull they wished to born

  19. avatar
    Stèphane le Pierres

    I’m French and I think that it will open a new way for Europeans citizens and put down this Europe without conscience, this Europe of the bankers, this Europe with its slave industry, this Europe we do not want or not like this.
    We want to find back the one of Schuman, find back the first idea og Europe and our universal ideas, our humanity, our common reality.
    The end of the sad world is coming and France will be the warrior of Light !
    On march for our 6th revolution and no one will stop this !

  20. avatar
    catherine benning

    Now we shall see how France will benefit the EU, or, not. Seemingly is cannot be worse than it is now.

    Socilaist policies removed the depression form the US in the 30’s under Roosevelt, and it worked for Germany after WW11. Isn’t that the policy we should all be following. If not, we will have to have a complete rethink on our political stance as it is not working for us any longer. The financial cheats and greed that began in the US Wall Street maniacs put an end to that. As did compliance with it by US governments and their followers.

    So, Vive Hollande and Vive le France!

    Perhaps the change will be good for us all.

    • avatar

      In WW1 and the 30’s the world was small and socialism could get away with high taxes because companies didn’t have an easy way out. Today there is internet, there are transportation networks, short, there is competition. Today people and especially companies have an easier choice to flee from socialist oppression. That is only 1 reason why it doesn’t work. It COULD work though with a true honest and fair socialist leader. One that would not forget common sense. One that would understand that the economy falls and stands with great companies. However, such a person would not be a socialist but a centered politician. Full left nor right will ever work. You have to understand really that without companies there is no one to get the tax money from except yourselves. If you make companies flee you have to understand YOU are the one where to get the money from. If you make companies flee YOU are the one who pays the price because YOU will be out of a job. Is it that hard to grasp?

  21. avatar

    Someone here once said: the worst that can happen to the poor is that there are no more rich. In a lot of senses this is true. The rich usually own companies giving work. They usually invest in newcomers they believe in, again, giving work. Hollande is about to annoy them away. Why would rich invest if profit is taxed at 80% or more? Why would rich give 80% to a communist if all they have to do to get away with it is place their official address in an other country? They sure will have many more houses outside France. Renault left my country due to high taxes. A few thousand people lost their jobs. A lot of companies left for the same reason. Hollande is 2000 more left than my country and Belgium is by some already considered to be pretty damn left. Lefter than normal. Lefter than what would be acceptable. Results are: highest taxes in the world. Lowest pension. Lowest unemployment payments etc. That is what socialism has always lead to. Although there are so many examples in the world that everywhere socialism set foot, countries were heading to disaster, people still don’t get it. The USSR, China, North Korea, Cuba… And now France… Capitalism then? No, not pure capitalism. We do need a social system. Of course we do! But we cannot promise free meals, free income, free houses to everyone because that is unsustainable. Unfortunately that is the populistic talk of socialism that people easily buy especially when times are bad. Socialism does not work. It destroys not countries but entire continents.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      you ae so right. Until tax havens are outlawed and the billionaires learn they cannot avoid tax, this horrendous situation will not change.

      The welathy should be on PAYE or direct taxation the same as the rest of the citizens of the UK and Europe.
      And if the want to use a tax haven, well they must be forced to live and carry out their businesses there. And their children must likewise, live and be educated there.

      This is costing the public a fortune and our politicians conspire in it and profit from it.

Your email will not be published

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of new comments. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our Privacy Policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them.