“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”.

 

Macron elected President: the world welcomes its victory!

On this day of Sunday, May 7th, Macron has become the new French president. First in polls for several months, French people believed in this young banker to be the one to govern their country. Thanks to his triumph against Marine Le Pen, its competitor, France is no longer divided and finds a semblance of tranquility.

But how did the rest of the world react? Because for some time France has been placed under a microscope almost everywhere. Going from Japan, to the United States, passing through Israel or Venezuela

Firstly, they were also some states in which they offered their support to Marine Le Pen, those special countries had some common characteristics in their political philosophy. The main countries that were backing the ultra-right program in France where; the United States, Russia and the UK government. Especially for UK, which was hoping that France, if Marine Le Pen was elected, that they would not be the only one leaving UE. 

Various political leaders announced by their personal social sites their disagreement to the victory of Macron. As Nigel Farage tweeted “Emmanuel Macron offers 5 more years of failure, power to the UE and open borders. If Marie Le pen sticks in there, she can win 2022”, who directly addresses their support as Le Pen was in favor of leaving the European Union. When the news arrives to Moscow, the reaction of president Putin after his meeting on march 24 with Le Pen was not very likely, as the French leader had included in her political government an exit in NATO and a very friendly relation with Russia.

It is clear that the important influence of the French power had around the world. For this reason the reaction of president Trump wasn’t directly supporting Macron but the past declarations before the elections and the visit of Le Pen to Washington evidently showed a relationship between these right leaders.

On the other hand, Emmanuel Macron was supported by most of the European countries because of Macron’s ideology which is considered pro-European. Many of members of the European departments show their positions as Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, and of course, European countries like Germany, where Angela Merkel celebrate the Macron victory by calling him or even Mariano Rajoy, the president of Spain’s government, who sent a telegram to Emmanuel Macron. Furthermore, the ex-president of the United States, Barack Obama  announced his support to Macron too, just before the election on May 4th.

After winning presidential elections and becoming the world’s youngest president, Europe was then going to react to this event, some countries feared a victory of Marine Le Pen because they felt that the place of France was in europe.

And it is thus the most pro-European candidate of this campaign which was elected, what did not escape in his from now on counterparts. From Brussels to Berlin, including Rome or Madrid, congratulations streamed, so sincere as relieved. Concerning United Kingdom, the majority of the political leaders greeted the victory of Macron, which falls in the campaign.

Emmanuel Macron carries at the same time the hope of the countries of the South (Italy, Greece, Spain), who hope a little less obligatorily and a little more reflation, and those for countries of the North, which, to save European spirit, are ready for financial concessions if France implements new reforms. With its election and after Brexit  and more still if Martin Schultz beat Angela Merkel in autumn , Europe has maybe just entered a new cycle.

The “Frexit” election

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First results came out April 23rd 2017 which marks a turning point in the French Political life, even in French society, which is more divided than ever.

The first turn of this election shows the rise in power of the National Front led by Marine Le Pen, the defeat of the Right and Left Political parties, as well as the appearance of a new movement. This one is led by one of the youngest candidates of the presidential elections 2017. What happened? What changed people’s minds? Are any of the current event in charge of this Change of circumstances?

To win, each of the two finalists must build a gathering much bigger than its initial one. So they need to attract as many voters as possible from the candidates beaten in the first round. For decades, this gathering obeyed the logic of the two camps – left and right – that dominated the political landscape. The elimination of the candidates of the Socialist Party and the Republican Party, and the qualification of those of the National Front and “En marche!”. Make this voice reporting mechanism unprecedented and much more unpredictable. 

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Marine Le pen is a layer and right-handed politician who has been decisive in the construction of the modern politics in France. This year, she’s leading a political vision that is taking a lot of controversies in the way of being discriminatory, Eurocentric and fascist. In order to understand her ideas, it is necessary to state three of the main arguments she is willing to fight for.

Firstly, she wants to expel France from the European Union (Frexit), this will completely change the organization of the European program after the Brexit was triggered. As she declared in an interviewI am a ferocious opponent of the European Union, so I’m not held to the choices that have been made, which go completely against the interests of France.

Secondly, she wants to change the national and international security program in which France must be taken out from the OTAN, this make a lot of debates as France is one of the countries in which ISIS had taken the most acts.The fear of the French community is becoming stronger after each terrorist attack, is the responsibility for the candidates to ensure their country’s security.

Finally, Le Pen includes in her political campaign program a new economic platform changing for a protectionism in which they will close many of the international treats,  France will lose a lot of international economic power. This protectionism program has clear similarities with Trump and May objectives, in which the three of them share similarities in their political view.

Macron is a former member of the socialist party, despite of creating the centrist movement called “En Marche!”. According to, his electoral program, the republican candidate give an overall Pro European Union view, however he said in one of his speeches  that he wanted to “make some changes so that the EU can be made stronger”.

In economic terms, the Republican candidate is promoting to make France more a business based on work and responsibility. He wants to make the labour market more flexible and talk about changing the electoral system, which would be more proportional. It is known that these days France is suffering dangerous problems with security, so as Macron established, he had promised to strengthen police and suggest to increase European Union cooperation. Furthermore, the Republican candidate said that it is necessary to make France multicultural.

First not-surprise of this first turn, the surveys were not mistaken. The presidential campaign was characterized by a permanent lawsuit blaming the surveys, in particular after the primary educations of the Republicans where the opening of Francois Fillon had been underestimated and in more general context, marked by the partial failures of the survey institutes to predict Brexit and Trump’s victory at the time of the American Presidential election. On may 7th the French people will make an important choice because the far right has never been that close to preside, which would be a first in the French history.

On the other side, Emmanuel Macron leaves like the favorite of the second turn, however the surveys show that voting intentions are very tight between its two candidates.

The stakes are very important because the program of its two candidates are very different in particular economically with the exit of the Europe concerning Marine Le pen whereas Emmanuel Macron would wish on the opposite “to build Europe of the sovereign nations and free people”. In 4 days, France, Europe and the rest of the world will know the future of France and its place on the European scene.