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Macron’s trick and Merkel’s weakness

The French president Emmanuel Macron has lost his popularity. France is striking again. Macron profiled himself as the leader of a revolution against "a caste of privileged top officials of the French state."

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2018

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In Brussels, France easily gets  away with it, as Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says: ’ because it is France!’.  France is too big to fail. But Macron has a solution. He wants, in the name of European solidarity, an EU transfer union to keep the French system afloat. The money should come from Germany, the Netherlands and some other member states, the so-called net-payers who are paying the EU bills already.
In Brussels, France easily gets away with it, as Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says: ’ because it is France!’. France is too big to fail. But Macron has a solution. He wants, in the name of European solidarity, an EU transfer union to keep the French system afloat. The money should come from Germany, the Netherlands and some other member states, the so-called net-payers who are paying the EU bills already.

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by N. Peter Kramer*

However, he himself is a child of that caste. His revolution served to survive the collapse of the left and the advance of the far right. The French economy can no longer sustain the French state. Europe needs to adjust.

In his book, ‘Les Untouchables d’Etat’ (The Intouchables of the State), French research journalist Vincent Jauvert sketches the French political-administrative elite, almost all graduates from the 'Ecole Nationale d'Administration' (ENA). After his election Macron stopped his revolution against 'the caste', he needs them. Enarques are the backbone of the French state. They also work in EU institutions to serve the French interest, in Europe.

But … Macron and the caste have a problem. The French economy cannot bear the costs of the French state. The state-owned companies have ‘water-heads’, taxes are incredibly high, the administration is much too big and the budget deficit is too large. 

In the meantime, the population is happy with a 35-hour working week, a lot of holidays and early pensions. Who dares to change that if you don’t like mass strikes and losing votes in the next election? The consequence is that reforming France is impossible.

In Brussels, France easily gets  away with it, as Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says: ' because it is France!'.  France is too big to fail. But Macron has a solution. He wants, in the name of European solidarity, an EU transfer union to keep the French system afloat. The money should come from Germany, the Netherlands and some other member states, the so-called net-payers who are paying the EU bills already.

A first probe in the European Council showed that Berlin has not said ‘no’.  Since Schauble has gone as German finance minister, and since the last elections made her position weaker, Angela Merkel no longer looks like  the ‘iron lady’. Chance for Macron?  Strong opposition against the transfer union came from the Netherlands and at least six other member states.

Will be continued.

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