Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Prof Granville comments France's rising Euro-scepticism


Prof Granville - CGR Director and Professor of International Economics and Economic Policy at Queen Mary, University of London- was interviewed the last 7th of June for an Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s piece in the Telegraph.

The article highlighted how “France shuns Europe as Brexit revolt spreads” describing the rise of Euro-scepticism across the channel. Making echo of a Pew survey that points that 61% of French voters have an unfavourableview of the EU, a percentage of critics beyond the UK’s 48% and only beaten by Greece’s 61% of unfavourable views. Evans-Pritchard details how Marine Le Pen’s Front National is capitalizing France rising Euro-scepticism in the context of a wave of protest against the labour reforms promoted by Hollande, showing the difficulties of France to reform his economic institutions. Across the article, Prof Granville analyses these issues.

  • On the rising Euro-scepticism in France:

"“It is a protest against the elites,” said Professor Brigitte Granville, a French economist at Queen Mary University of London. “There are 5000 people in charge of everything in France. They are all linked by school and marriage, and they are tight.”
Prof Granville said the mechanisms of monetary union have upset the Franco-German strategic marriage, wounding the French psyche.  “The EU was sold to the French people as a `partnership’ of equals with Germany. But it has been very clear since 2010 that this is not the case. Everybody could see that Germany decided everything in Greece,” she said"

  • On the Le Pen’s increasing popularity:

"“Le Pen has attracted all the people who feel left out, the discontented from both Left and Right, and it is spreading to the middle class,” said Prof Granville.
“We are in a very dangerous phase. The French elites are extremely scared of what could happen in France if there is a Brexit,” she said."

  •  On France’s difficulties to reform in the context of the Euro:

"Prof Granville said the French establishment has never has never come to terms with the meaning of monetary union. "Either we stay in the euro or we don't. If we want to stay- and the euro is a religion for these people- we have to reduce labour costs, but they won't do it. We still have tax laws that predate the French Revolution," she said.
There are 360 separate taxes, with 470 tax loopholes. The labour code has tripled to 3,000 pages since 1985. The unions command only 7pc membership but have a legal lockhold on companies with over 50 employees. "It is an inferno that sadly lacks the poetry of Dante," said Prof Granville.

You can read the full article on the Telegraph webpage, with more details of the Pew Survey on Euro-scepticism beyond Brexit and further comments by Giles Merrit, head of the Friends of Europe think tank, and Eric Dor, Director of Economic Studies at IESEG School of Management.  If you are interested in a detailed analysis of how France’s institutions shapes elites careers and attitudes towards the market you can also read this CGR’s post on French Institutions, which recaps the CGR working paper “Elites, Thickets and Institutions: French Resistance versus German Adaptation to Economic Change, 1945-2015” co-authored by Prof Granville Jointly with Dr Martha Prevezer –Senior Lecturer in Strategy and Innovation, Queen Mary, University of London- and Jaume Martorell Cruz, GGR research associate.

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