French president Emmanuel Macron made various proposals for European Union reform in a speech at the Sorbonne university in Paris today. They can be divided into three categories: difficult, doable and low-hanging fruit. Read more
French president Emmanuel Macron suffered two setbacks this weekend:
- His centrist party, La République En Marche!, won only 29 seats in the Senate. 170 out of 348 seats were contested. The center-right Republicans remain the largest party in the upper chamber, followed by the mainstream Socialists.
- The outcome of the German election means the liberal Free Democrats are almost certain to be part of Angela Merkel’s next coalition government and they are skeptical of Macron’s proposals for deeper EU integration. Read more
The government of Emmanuel Macron has introduced its first labor reforms in France. They include:
- Capping the damages judges can award to workers who have been wrongfully terminated at one month’s pay for every year of employment.
- Raising the compensation for workers who are laid off for legitimate economic reasons by 25 percent.
- Enabling employers to bypass union-dominated workers’ councils and call company-wide referendums on sensitive topics like overtime.
- Allowing multinationals to lay off workers at loss-making French subsidiaries even if the foreign-based parent company is profitable.
After a summer of consultations, two of France’s three largest trade unions — the Democratic Confederation of Labor and Workers’ Force — have given their consent to the reforms. The hardline General Confederation of Labor remains opposed and has called a nationwide strike for September 12.
No matter the resistance unions put up, the liberalizations are almost certain to be rubber-stamped by parliament, which is controlled by Macron’s party. Read more
French president Emmanuel Macron has won support from the leaders of Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia for reform of the EU’s posted-workers regime.
“We are prepared work with all our partners on a technical level to agree an adjustment of the Posted Workers Directive so that we can overcome the split in the EU,” Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka said following a four-nation summit in Salzburg.
Robert Fico, his Slovak counterpart, suggested a deal could be reached by October. Read more
Emmanuel Macron’s liberalization of intercity public transport in France is paying off.
Until 2015, railroads had a monopoly on domestic ground routes of 100 kilometers or more. Macron — then economy minister, now president — wrote legislation that allowed busses to compete.
Bloomberg reports that 6.2 million passengers took a long-distance bus in 2016 and bookings are up another 25 percent this year.
That’s still a fraction of the more than 100 million annual high-speed train passengers, but competition from busses is forcing the state-owned railway to cut rates. Read more
Patrick Chamorel makes another fine point in his essay about Emmanuel Macron in The American Interest.
He points out that the French president has barely talked about crime, immigration, integration and terrorism:
His emphasis on the necessary liberalization of the economy disproportionately reflects the preoccupations of the most urban, educated and prosperous sections of the population.
In smaller cities and the countryside, people worry about other things. Read more