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

[email protected]

Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

Investment firepower for the recovery: a conversation with Philippe Donnet, CEO of Assicurazioni Generali

At this event the CEO of Assicurazioni Generali, Philippe Donnet will be in conversation with Guntram Wolff, Director of Bruegel.

Speakers: Philippe Donnet and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 8, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

Strengthening the weak links: future of supply chains

What new supply chains trends will we see in the post-pandemic era?

Speakers: Ebru Özdemir, André Sapir and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: July 7, 2021
Read about event
 

Past Event

Past Event

Ensuring competitiveness of low-carbon investments

At this event, speakers will introduce the core idea of commercialisation contracts, and then discuss key design elements. This includes whether contracts should be issued at the EU or national level, how competition for contracts should be organised, and which industries should be eligible for support.

Speakers: Natalia Fabra, Peter Handley, Ben McWilliams and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 1, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

EU debt vs national debts: friends or foes?

The EU will become into a major issuer of safe assets in the coming years. How will this interact with the debt issuance of European sovereign debts?

Speakers: Grégory Claeys, Yves Jacob, Gert-Jan Koopman, Pablo de Ramón-Laca and Imène Rahmouni-Rousseau Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 29, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

How to spend it? A closer look at the recovery plans

In this event, participants will take a closer look at the recovery plans submitted by EU countries.

Speakers: Zsolt Darvas, Alex Patelis and Maarten Verwey Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 23, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

Conference on the Future of Europe: Vehicle for reform versus forum for reflection?

At this policy dialogue organised by the research project EU3D, panellists will discuss different options and what they may entail while revisiting the debates on the future of Europe at national and EU-level that have been conducted thus far and their patterns, including preliminary findings on national parliamentary debates.

Speakers: Sergio Fabbrini, John Erik Fossum, Magdalena Góra, Vivien Schmidt, Manfred Weber and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 16, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

The Recovery and Resilience Fund: Accelerating the digitalisation of the EU?

How can new EU funds financed by EU borrowing supplement national digital and green funding and EU funds available from the standard seven-year EU budget to accelerate digitalisation?

Speakers: Sam Blackie, Zsolt Darvas, Maria Teresa Fabregas Fernandez, J. Scott Marcus and Ben Wreschner Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 8, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

Women, Covid-19 & The EU Recovery Plan

How can we ensure that the recovery plan doesn’t leave women behind when 84% of working women in the EU aged 15-64 are employed by services that were predominantly impacted by Covid-19 restrictions?

Speakers: Mary Collins, Maria Demertzis, Alexandra Geese, Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, Dan Mobley, Naomi O'Leary and Emma Rainey Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 2, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

Paris Reinforce: From Numbers to Insights: How to think about economic-climate modelling

Join us for the presentation of ‘From Numbers to Insights: How to think about economic-climate modelling’.

Speakers: Haris Doukas, Ajay Gambhir, Glen Peters, Georg Zachmann and Ewelina Daniel Topic: Energy & Climate Date: May 26, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

The work of the future: How are new jobs created and what are the implications for labour markets?

Join us for a presentation of 'New Frontiers: The Origins and Content of New Work, 1940 — 2018' by David Autor (MIT and NBER) and the findings on the source of 'new work' followed by a discussion with an invited panel of academics and policy makers.

Speakers: David Autor, Maarten Goos, Barbara Kauffmann and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: May 25, 2021
Read about event
 

Past Event

Past Event

The Future of Work – a conversation with Commissioner Schmit

EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit joins Bruegel for a conversation around the future of work.

Speakers: Mario Mariniello and Nicolas Schmit Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: May 25, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

After COVID-19: a most wanted recovery

This event, jointly organised with ISPI, as the National Coordinator and Chair of the T20 Italy, is part of the T20 Spring Roundtables and it will focus on strategies for a swift and sustainable economic recovery for Europe.

Speakers: Franco Bruni, Maria Demertzis, Elena Flores, Paul De Grauwe, Christian Odendahl, Miguel Otero-Iglesias and André Sapir Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 19, 2021
Load more posts