On Sunday, French voters gave Francois Hollande an outright majority in the national assembly. The French President has already changed the dynamic in Europe, away from an exclusive focus on austerity, towards a commitment to create jobs and growth. Hollande’s success was based, in part, on the fact that he offered a pragmatic response to the crisis, rooted in his social democratic values and tradition. He has pledged to cut France’s deficit by 3 per cent next year and eliminate it by 2017, alongside proposing plans to promote jobs and cut unemployment. These impressive legislative results will strengthen his hand further, both within his party and the country at large, to work to deliver social justice and return the Eurozone’s second largest economy back to economic prosperity.
Emma Reynolds is shadow Europe minister and Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East.
Pushing its growth agenda, Francois Hollande’s government secured an absolute majority in the lower house, giving the Socialists control of almost every political institution. Even if growth is more appealing to voters than budgetary austerity or structural reforms, it is hard to understand where growth will actually come from. Reducing the retirement age for workers, boosting the minimum wage, making labour laws less flexible and increasing tax on risk-takers and corporations will have a negative impact on France’s competitiveness, at a time when its trade deficit is widening (€5.8bn in April). With both Italian and Spanish bonds again under pressure, Hollande’s populist promises will either need to be broken or could push France into turmoil, especially if investors start to doubt his commitment to reduce the budget deficit to 3 per cent by 2013.
Yannick Naud was Mouvement Démocrate candidate for the Third Overseas Constituency of the French Parliament.