Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The State of Europe

I wrote a shamelessly speculative piece for The Tocqueville Review on the current state of Europe. You can read it here.


Tim said...

A couple of points:

1. As a practical matter because of Brexit there is not going to be any renegotiation of the EU treaties or France's EU membership during the next two years. So unless you are in favor of full on Frexit like MLP and to a lesser extent JLM there is really not much to be done on this front until 2019 no matter how much Piketty and Hamon might wish otherwise.

2. The last two French Presidents in addition to being really unpopular were also two of the most avowedly pro American in French history. Despite the fact Obama was extremely popular in France my belief is that there is still a lot of skepticism of the US in France and this perhaps contributed to the unpopularity of the last two Presidents. With the rise of Trump it is quite easy to see the political logic for the next President to make a much more "traditional" French foreign policy view of the US without the possibility of offending "Pro Obama" French voters.

3. A lot of the unpopularity of the EU in France in my opinion can be linked to the rise of British influence especially post Tony Blair since the late 1990s early 2000s. In another six years with the Brits gone who knows what the French view of the EU will be.

Tim said...

The council for foreign relations just did a webcast on the French election today.

bernard said...

I would agree that 2017 may well signal a reflux of anti-Europe sentiment. As I mentioned a while ago, by the time 2022 comes, we will have in our backsights the actual results of Trump and Brexit and both are not going to look very exciting.

As far as the growth environment in Europe is concerned, I am inclined to say that your point of view is somewhat dated and applied better to, let's say, three years ago than now. In fact, most of Europe is presently benefiting from pretty decent growth (France is the laggard here) and while the ground lost during the great recession has not been entirely regained, it is well on the way to be, which is why the Piketty argument on stimulus is starting to get old (I don't hear Krugman making that argument these days and he can be trusted to really be on the ball). Thank you Draghi!

Tim said...


One thing I find interesting is that the go to remedy for economic growth among US Keynesians has been attempted and continues to be attempted on a massive scale in France that is infrastructure spending. This has been going on under Chirac, Sarkozy and now Hollande. Look at the Flamanville Nuclear Plant, all the new TGV lines(some of which are to nowhere), the RER E, Metro line 14, the "Grands Paris" Metro and on and on. I find it amusing when American leftwinger like Alon Levy want to model a proposed US Democrat infrastructure spending plan on what France is doing despite all the French high unemployment.

Anonymous said...

"2017 may well prove to be a crucial year
in testing the resiliency of Europe’s bonds."

Nice last sentence. Liens ou bons (de trésor)? I don't know if that was intended but it is amusing all the same. An exit from the euro would be catastrophic for holders of French bonds. I assume France would be declared immediately to be in default.

The article is speculative but not excessively so.

Anon said...

The Economist this month has a special analysis of the EU for those who are interested.