Past Event

Financial Times – Bruegel Forum: the future of Europe after the French election

The second event in the Financial Times - Bruegel Forum series will look at how the results of the French elections will affect Europe.

Date: May 11, 2017, 12:30 pm Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

Video and audio recording


NOTES

On 11 May Bruegel and the Financial Times held an event to discuss the direction Europe is likely to take after the French elections. Guntram Wolff, Director of Bruegel, and Tony Barber, Europe Editor of the FT, had the opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing France and the EU with Jean Pisani-Ferry, Director for Programme and Ideas of Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign.

Tony Barber kicked-off the debate with some remarks on the reactions to Emmanuel Macron’s election. Despite his victory at the second turn, larger than expected and welcome with great relief in France, he warned about the wide domestic hostility, expressed in the substantial ballots for extreme candidates in the first round, to some of the economic reforms proposed in his program. At the European level, he highlighted the differences between the overwhelmingly positive reactions in Western Europe and EU institutions and those extremely aloof in Eastern European governments. In this regard, while the election of Macron will certainly represent a new impetus for a healthier Franco-German relationship to strengthen the Euro area, the pockets of reserve and scepticism coming from the rest of EU should be kept in mind.

Despite these concrete challenges, Jean Pisani-Ferry emphasized the significance of this election. Emmanuel Macron broke with the longstanding tradition of avoiding European issues in a Presidential campaign, due to the internal divisions within both parties. In these elections, instead, particularly in the second round, there were two opposing candidates, with platform defined against or pro-Europe. A novelty for France, but also for European politics itself.

At the same time, the vote crystallized profound divisions within the country (by education level, by location and in particular by personal perception about the future), similar to those emerged in the Brexit vote and the US election. Mr Pisani-Ferry explained that it will be a priority for Macron to address these divides. And given his commitment, he will not speak only to the “happy France”, but will be demanding at domestic and European level to respond to the fears and anger expressed during the campaign.

Regarding reforms, Mr. Pisani-Ferry noted that, even if reluctance was clearly expressed in the first round, the current status quo is politically unsustainable (in terms unemployment level, divide between large and smaller cities, problems of competitiveness). Political capital, both domestically and at European level, has to be invested wisely in reforms that are going to deliver. More generally, given that the risk of facing a more competitive “champion” against openness and integration can not be underestimated (in the future or in another country), redefining the idea of economic openness and open society in a way that is politically more sustainable is a key challenge for the future of European politics.

In response to some remarks by Guntram Wolff on Macron’s public finance strategy and regional policies to tackle the opportunity gap between urban vs. countryside, Jean Pisani-Ferry provided more details on the planned structural reduction of public spending. To allow it, given the available low-interest rate window, the program envisages additional (but temporary) investments for 50 billion euros over the presidential 5-years term to foster the digitalization of public administration and improving efficiency of healthcare system. Regarding the geographical divides (well described here by the Financial Times), addressing the inclusiveness issues created by economic agglomeration will require changes in housing tax, the educational system and the degree of physical and digital connectivity.

Finally, a great part of the debate concerned the European dimension of the program. He made it clear that the agenda will starts at home with solving homegrown problems with domestic policies. “There is no attitude of telling neighbours or telling partners that they should be solving our problems,” he said.  At the same time, the current outcomes of the Euro Area institutional set-up are rather unsatisfactory. In light of this, what is essential according to Pisani-Ferry is a serious discussion about the remaining shortcomings, not only on the few issues on which consensus can be found in the short-term and in particular not on instruments. “There has been a lot of crisis management and last-minute decisions to prevent very bad things happening, but we have lacked a serious discussion”, he noted, “in which we don’t need to agree on everything”. In this regard, the French red lines will be complacency, inaction, dogmatism.

The discussion continued on the consequences of Brexit on the EU budget, the necessary redefinition of its strategic priorities and on proposal about a policy framework to address security consequences of foreign acquisitions (on which Bruegel advanced some proposals).

Several questions from the audience fostered further the debate on European values, the sequencing of flexicurity reforms, the future French position on Brexit, issues related to labour mobility within the Single market.

Event notes by Filippo Biondi, Research Assistant.

Schedule

May 11, 2017

12:30-13:00

Check in and lunch

13:00-14:00

Discussion

Tony Barber, Europe editor, Financial Times

Jean Pisani-Ferry, Senior Fellow

Guntram B. Wolff, Director

14:00-14:30

Q&A

14:30

End

Speakers

Tony Barber

Europe editor, Financial Times

Jean Pisani-Ferry

Senior Fellow

Guntram B. Wolff

Director

Location & Contact

Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels

Matilda Sevon

matilda.sevon@bruegel.org

Read article Download PDF More on this topic

External Publication

Europe – the global centre for excellent research

This report, requested by the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, analyses the EU’s potential to be a global centre of excellence for research as a driver of its future growth in a complex global S&T landscape, and how EU public resources can contribute to this.

By: Michael Baltensperger and Reinhilde Veugelers Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: May 22, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Jun
11
08:30

EU-LAC Economic Forum 2019: New perspectives in turbulent times

The third edition of the EU-LAC Economic Forum.

Speakers: Diego Acosta Arcarazo, Ignacio Corlazzoli, Maria Demertzis, Alicia García-Herrero, Carmen González Enríquez, Bert Hoffmann, Edita Hrdá, Matthias Jorgensen, Juan Jung, Tobias Lenz, Carlos Malamud, J. Scott Marcus, Elena Pisonero, Charles Powell, Belén Romana, Andrés Velasco and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

What is in store for the EU’s trade relationship with the US ?

If faced with a resurgent President Trump after the next US election, the EU will have some difficult decisions to make as it is compelled to enter a one-sided negotiation. Failure to strike a deal will imperil the world’s largest trade relationship and contribute to the progressive unravelling of the rules enshrined in the World Trade Organization – although the changes required of Europe by Trump’s demands may ultimately turn out to be in the interest of Europeans.

By: Uri Dadush Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 16, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

How do national energy policies fit into EU decarbonisation plans?

Through considering several different national perspectives, we discuss how to reconcile the EU Climate Strategy targets with national energy and climate policies.

Speakers: Aleksandra Gawlikowska-Fyk, Christian von Hirschhausen, Carole Mathieu and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: May 15, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Director's Cut: Evolution of US-China relations amid trade-tariff conflict

Bruegel director Guntram Wolff and Bruegel fellow Uri Dadush welcome William Alan Reinsch, senior adviser and Scholl chair in international business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, for a discussion of how China-US relations are developing in the context of unfolding trade war.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 14, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

When facts change, change the pact

“When facts change, I change my mind,” John Maynard Keynes famously said. With long-term interest rates currently near zero, the European Union should reform its fiscal framework to allow member states to increase their debt-financed public investments.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 1, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Spitzenkandidaten series: Frans Timmermans

The sixth event in the The Road to Europe - Brussels Briefing Live: Spitzenkandidaten series. The series features the lead candidates for the European Elections of six parties and is jointly organised by Bruegel and the Financial Times in March and April 2019.

Speakers: Mehreen Khan, André Sapir and Frans Timmermans Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 11, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Spitzenkandidaten series: Manfred Weber

The fifth event in the The Road to Europe - Brussels Briefing Live: Spitzenkandidaten series. The series features the lead candidates for the European Elections of six parties and is jointly organised by Bruegel and the Financial Times in March and April 2019.

Speakers: Anne-Sylvaine Chassany, Manfred Weber and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 9, 2019
Read article Download PDF More by this author

Parliamentary Testimony

Promoting sustainable and inclusive growth and convergence in the European Union

This speech was delivered by Guntram Wolff at the Informal ECOFIN Meeting in Bucharest on 5 April 2019.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Testimonies Date: April 8, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Spitzenkandidaten series: Jan Zahradil

The fourth event in the The Road to Europe - Brussels Briefing Live: Spitzenkandidaten series. The series features the lead candidates for the European Elections of six parties and is jointly organised by Bruegel and the Financial Times in March and April 2019.

Speakers: Jim Brunsden, Maria Demertzis and Jan Zahradil Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 4, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Spitzenkandidaten series: Luis Garicano

The third event in the The Road to Europe - Brussels Briefing Live: Spitzenkandidaten series. The series features the lead candidates for the European Elections of six parties and is jointly organised by Bruegel and the Financial Times in March and April 2019.

Speakers: Luis Garicano, Mehreen Khan and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 3, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Spitzenkandidaten series: Bas Eickhout

The second event in the The Road to Europe - Brussels Briefing Live: Spitzenkandidaten series. The series features the lead candidates for the European Elections of six parties and is jointly organised by Bruegel and the Financial Times in March and April 2019.

Speakers: Bas Eickhout, Guntram B. Wolff and Rochelle Toplensky Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 2, 2019
Load more posts