Monday, May 07, 2012

I offer France my... congratulations

François Hollande has been elected president. He received about 52% of the vote; Nicolas Sarkozy received about 48%. Sarkozy said: "Je porte toute la responsabilité de ma défaite"-- "I bear total responsibility for my defeat." And now France has a socialist president for the first time since François Mitterrand. Hollande, doing his Obama impression, said: "Les Français viennent de choisir le changement"-- "The French have just chosen change."

I really don't see this going well for France or for Europe. Sarkozy, for all his pugnacity, was trying to lay the groundwork for an economic reform that, in the long term, would probably have begun to pull France out of its fiscal nosedive. Things tend to get worse before they get better; the French public, as short-sighted as the US public, failed to see that when they elected Hollande. Sarkozy has his flaws, but this new leftward move will prove to be a big mistake on the world stage. Germany will be first to feel the impact of an Hollande administration, I predict, but there might be one positive outcome: the further weakening of the Eurozone that results from a Franco-German rift. I'm all for whatever returns European countries to the their état sauvage, before transnational progressivism took them over.

Specifically, I think Hollande will prove more sympathetic to the flagging economies of countries like Greece and Portugal. Arguments with Angela Merkel will ensue as France and Germany debate how much of a bailout those countries need or deserve. Merkel's government will view France's shift as a betrayal, and Germany's fiscal conservatives will (a bit like the UK's conservatives in other matters) begin to clamor even more loudly for Germany to exit the Eurozone. Switzerland will view the proceedings with its usual lofty disdain. Western Europe's lazier, warm-weather countries will continue to fall into the toilet. While a reversion to native currencies won't happen anytime soon, the possibility of such a reversion will emerge as a serious alternative to current fiscal policy. I doubt any of this will lead to the disbanding of the EU or even of the Eurozone, but Hollande's election is, at the very least, a recipe for deep fissures. Once again, France finds itself contre le monde.


1 comment:

Charles said...

I'm with you on this one. This is not really what France needs right now.

Also, Hollande's election may not lead directly to the collapse of the Eurozone, but it is another thread in a tapestry that is slowly (but, I believe, surely) coming undone.