“Europe is definitely at the heart of our business, so whatever happens in Europe is critical for every country”


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By Marine SUDAN

For my studies’ framework, I needed to interview someone related to my region, Europe. On May, 23th, François Rameau gave me an appointment in his office in Madrid. What about him?

For years, he has been travelling around the globe for his job: Singapore to Mumbai, Hong-Kong to Paris. Few months ago, he had the opportunity to take the general manager of the Spanish branch of the Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, based in the center of Madrid. It is a subsidiary of the French Company. They are dealing with the largest Spanish companies as well as the largest financial institutions as a global client. Not only helping those companies in Spain but also worldwide throughout the rest of their network.

For me it was interesting to interview someone link to my region, with a international background and that have an opinion of his country even if he does not live in it and also about the European Union.

As a French citizen and a European one, the main questions of this interview were to know his points of view about Europe and what happened lately. I wrote this article in a manner to have first his opinion about French election that took place one month ago and their consequences, and then about Europe.

Firstly, I asked him if he did follow the news in Europe. While smiling at me, his response was very clear:

“No choice, I mean Europe is definitely at the heart of our business, so whatever happens in Europe is critical for every country, including Spain”.

Even if he is currently living in Madrid for the next few years, his situation didn’t prevent him from voting for its next President, here in Madrid, as a concern citizen.

So, what about France? My first question was direct: was he satisfied with all the candidates for this presidential election ? Although the company did not have a specific candidate, he could not speak on their behalf. For Rameau, he is quite satisfied with the final outcome of the election because the alternative, if Marine Le pen was elected, it could have been extremely dangerous for the activity. Macron is “everybody’s hope” to make France stronger. Even if there is a lot of waiting for France to adjust with the realities of Europe and those of the world.

My next concern was his thoughts about the younger being a part of Europe. As we seen during the election, lots of them were supporting Melenchon. He understands why many people supported him because young people feel that they don’t necessary belong to the European economy as it is today. But as he said

those are people that have only a short view on the economic reality. They don’t necessarily understand the global environment that we are in”.

If France were to implemented Melenchon’s reforms, it would automatically loose her competitiveness and a lot of jobs would disappear in the process. He thinks that people have a cast of vote of protests because they are not happy with the situation (unemployment is mostly one of the main problems brought during an election and a big concern In French society).

Moreover, this election showed the growth of the populism. Marine Le Pen won a lot of supporters during this election which had not occurred since 2002. For the first turn, she had reached over 21,30%, 3% less than Macron and had won over Melenchon, who didn’t make it to 20% of the voters.

Even if François Rameau don’t have an objective idea on the growth of the populism, he thinks that Europe has reached probably the pic of the populist votes in France. it reflects the fact that many people don’t think they belong to the global economy and don’t necessarily understand it. But in the case of Le Pen, she has targeted the weakest of voters. He means the unemployed people, many of them potentially unemployable, because they have not been properly trained and didn’t adjust to the new reality of the economy. Therefore, Le Pen is promising a kind of a dream as an old France like it was used to be forty or fifty years ago for those people when they were young. It could have been marvelous but it is strictly impossible. Marine Le Pen has no clue on the economy reality shown before the Second turn during a debate.

Thirdly, for years, European Union has weakened and this has not improved with the Brexit. Thanks to the French election happened this year, it will probably be stronger. Many people were concerned about the European project losing its steam. Now that France emerges stronger and is confirming its European commitment together with the support of Germany, the General Manager says that it is “a good opportunity and opening to make it better”. Even if we know that not all countries will agree with those new projects as a common defense, tax system and other things that are not in the current EU treaty. The next thing will be to see if other countries want to be in the same coalition or independent.

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Even if Brexit happened this year, France and Italy almost did. It is still a continue treat because for many years the European Union has benefit more or less to its citizens. For him, EU still benefits to the citizen but those ones are no longer obvious, it is more complicated. It is seen as a huge administration with many problems. Therefore, people think that they have lost a bit of control.  Its shows a strong signal that people want a change. EU has itself understood that it needs to change its ways to process, leave back more power to nations and only get involve in what is important, not being perceive as a substitute for a nation here citizens belong.

After a few minutes exchanging, he finished with this quote:

“I am quite confident that we are coming out of a difficult period, the global economic environment is now stronger, so it will help people to realize that finally the European Union is not that bad. And depending on the outcome of the Brexit negotiation, if and it is my own feeling, that if UK suffers after exiting the EU, then people will think again”.

 

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