Arguments For and Against Macron’s Mercosur Threat
French president Emmanuel Macron has threatened to hold up ratification of an EU trade deal with Mercosur unless Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro does more to fight fires in the Amazon Rainforest.
Canada, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands have backed Macron up. Germany is less sure. Donald Trump is expected to side with Bolsonaro at the G7 summit this weekend.
Here are the arguments for and against the threat. Read more
French Center-Right Needs More Than New Leader
France’s center-right Republicans will be looking for a new leader after Laurent Wauquiez stepped down in the wake of a disappointing European election result.
His party got just 8.5 percent support, placing fourth behind President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and the Greens.
Wauquiez had been at 8 to 10 percent support in polls for the next presidential election, which is due in 2022.
But the party needs more than a fresh face. It needs a better strategy. Read more
France’s Old Parties Suffer Another Blow in European Election
France’s once-dominant center-left and center-right parties still haven’t recovered from their defeat two years ago at the hands of Emmanuel Macron.
The Socialists got only 6 percent support in European elections on Sunday, the same share as the far left. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s Republicans got 8.5 percent, down from 21 percent five years ago.
Most of the media attention has gone to the winners: Macron’s liberal-centrist alliance, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and the Greens, who got almost 60 percent support combined. But the collapse of the old parties — and with it an era in French politics — is just as big a story. Read more
France’s Traditional Parties Still Haven’t Recovered from Macron
Two years into Emmanuel Macron’s presidency, France’s old political parties still haven’t recovered.
The Socialists, the party of Jacques Delors and François Mitterrand, are polling at a measly 6 percent for the European elections in May. The Republicans, who trace their political roots to Charles de Gaulle, are at 12 percent. Macron’s En Marche! (“Forward!”) and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally split 40 percent of the vote. The remainder goes to splinter parties on the left and right. Read more
Small EU Countries Resist Franco-German Push for Protectionism
Since the European Commission blocked a landmark merger of the French and German train manufacturers Alstom and Siemens, France and Germany have come out in favor of a “genuine European industrial policy” to compete with China and the United States.
Smaller countries, led by the Netherlands and Poland, are wary. Read more
Germany’s Kramp-Karrenbauer Answers Macron’s Call for EU Reform
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the leader of Germany’s Christian Democrats and likely successor to Angela Merkel, has answered Emmanuel Macron’s call for a European “renaissance” in an op-ed for Die Welt. (English version here.)