Mr Macron flies to Berlin

Mr Macron promised to rebuild the Franco-German alliance and to seek to strengthen the role of the EU in his country. To do so he has to fly to Berlin to show Mrs Merkel he agrees with her and will be helpful to her prior to the German election.

He will find in Berlin beneath the public courtesy a very different view of what the problems are, let alone what the future answers should be. There will of course be some goodwill born of relief that Mme Le Pen failed, but the reality of German interests will soon reassert.

The main German preoccupations will be to avoid any new spending commitments by the EU that Germany might have to pay for, and to keep the austerity pressure on the heavily borrowed countries of the Union. France will want to speak for a higher spending and borrowing federal EU government which Germany will dislike. Both countries say they want a political union, but France wants that to include sharing the money whilst Berlin wants it to be governed by teutonic controls on spending, borrowing and printing money.

Mrs Merkel may offer her new suitor warm words, but is unlikely to loosen the German or EU purse strings. Germany will be conscious that her 830 bn Euro deposits in the ECB are already lent on at no interest to countries who will struggle to repay.

Published and promotoed by Fraser Mc Farland on behalf of John Redwood both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham GR40 1XU

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107 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Indeed as Roger Bootle points out today – the future of the Euro is still far from assured – despite Macron’s election.

    So Theresa May today is going to be pushing her misguided “building on EU workers rights” agenda – workers on company boards, gender pay reporting, time off, doubless free chocolate biscuits and other halfwitted measures to damage businesses and distract managers and employees from productive activity.

    This will give workers the “rights” to have work alongside incompetent workers who cannot be sacked, have to cover for people who have taken a year off, be paid less (as the company will be made less efficient & less competitive) and to have fewer alternative jobs available as the UK will also be less efficient & far less competitive.

    So the question is:- Is Theresa May very cynically doing this just to win votes, even though she know it will actually damage the economy, jobs & productivity (and make things far worse for the good workers too), or is she really so stupid that she actually thinks these daft top down, socialist interventions will actaully help workers?

    They will, once again, create lots of pointless parasitic jobs for “experts” on gender pay reporting, bureaucrats, HR specialists, lawyers and the likes. But they will kill far more real & productive jobs in the process.

    Hopefully she will be forced to forget about her bonkers Miliband ideology post the election, or introduce these things in such weak mode that they can safely be ignored and thus not cost industry, employers, employees and productivity too much.

    I tend to the cynical explanation myself. Surely even an Oxford Geography graduate cannot really be that daft – can they?

    May seem very quiet about energy & the greencrap agenda, is she a Theresa Miliband here too? She voted for his bonkers climate change act I think (?), as nearly every single one of the bonkers & economically/scientifically illiterate MPs did.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Measures by government to make a pigs ear of the rather efficient gig economy too it seems.

      Just why is government so keen to shoot the economy, productivity (and indeed its own tax receipts) in the foot and augment the numbers of pointless & non productive jobs at the cost of far more productive ones?

    • Jerry
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      @LL; “So Theresa May today is going to be pushing her misguided “building on EU workers rights” agenda [../usual rant/..]”

      First rule of politics, first you need to get elected! Anyway, why are “workers rights” so alien to the modern post Victorian right wing? Also do not forget that many who voted for Brexit did not vote for the sort of ultra capitalism you and so many on this site seem to want, had such a manifesto been on the referendum ballot then I suspect there would have been a very strong vote to Remain.

      Mrs May might not be the most televisual politician around, her election ‘chants’ might not be the best, but her policies are winning were she needs to win – but just one warning, she has just one chance, she will need to follow through on her promises because the electors will not give a second chance if she fails. The political right need to take on-board that many of Labours policies are popular, according to the latest polling, people just don’t seem to want Mr Corbyn. It’s 1992, not 1983, all over again in a sort of way…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        The best rights a worker can have is to be able to walk out of one job and into another one. Workers “rights” actually damage the chances of this being an option. They lower productivity, makes the UK less competitive and even harms the workers themselves in pay and having to take up the slack for others. Still great news for parasitic job creation, in areas such as law, HR, bureaucrats and other “expert” consultancies.

        • hefner
          Posted May 15, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          LL, what you are saying might be true for a successful quant or a bank executive going from one investment bank to another. Not likely to be so easy for a steel worker, a docker, an employee of the energy companies, …

          And please explain why German workers with many more rights than the UK workers seem more productive.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 16, 2017 at 2:10 am | Permalink

            It is the same for these workers to.

            By what mechanism can top down workers rights, dictated by government improve productivity? It just makes efficient management more difficult. There are many reason for German productivity, but workers “rights” is not one of them.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 16, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

            @LL; “It is the same for these [manual, non white collar] workers to. “

            No it is not, you are out or touch with the realities of being an employee, if you ever have been…

            “There are many reason for German productivity, but workers “rights” is not one of them.”

            Then you are admitting that “workers rights” do not actually affect productivity, considering just how ingrained into both the economy and German psychic both workers rights and union representation are!

          • hefner
            Posted May 16, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            That’s your problem, LL, mixing up problems related to productivity and those of workers’rights. You are so used to mix all topics in a kind of dog’s breakfast you are mostly unable to be convey anything of value.

      • Andy
        Posted May 17, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        What about ’employers rights’ ?? LL is right that the best ’employee right’ there is is that ability to walk out of one job and straight into another. There is far too much meddling in peoples lives, treating them as children and unable to think or decide for themselves. We need far less of it and far more Liberty.

    • Bob
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      @lifelogic

      “This will give workers the “rights” to have to work alongside incompetent workers who cannot be sacked”

      this is very damaging to staff morale and productivity, and partly the reason the UK loses out to countries with more pragmatic employment laws.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Mainly she’s doing it to win votes, but I don’t think she finds it painful to do it.

      • eeyore
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        “Sir, you may talk cant, but don’t think it” (Johnson). I too hope Mrs May doesn’t think it, but suspect she does. Her social justice advisor has been given Eric Pickles’ seat at Brentwood – a seat for life with a 21,000 majority.

    • rose
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      The upshot here is that young men will once again have the advantage in the labour market. Maternity rights gave older women the advantage, and now these new filial rights should return it to young men. We will have come full circle. Well done, Mr Timothy.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Mrs May strikes me as a European-style Christian Democrat (like they have in Germany for example), her policies match quite closely. I think this is genuine and it just happens that the move of Labour to the hard left has resulted in large number of voters who are at least reasonably happy with this.

    • bigneil
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      If people come here to genuinely work, contribute and be a decent citizen – welcome. As for those who come to bleed the benefits system, use the NHS, escape their sentence for crime in their home country, commit crime here – Why are they allowed to stay here, using the good old “Human Rights”? – to be a burden/danger to us. People who come here and cannot support themselves are supposed to go after a few months. They just sit here, free life on the taxpayer for ever. Our govt is wasting millions if not billions on these people. We are having cuts – they just sit and wait for our money to go into their bank account. . .and our govt STILL expects our vote?

    • hefner
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Maybe people herein should remember that only FIVE MPs voted against the Climate Change Act 2008. So maybe some of the ridiculous comments usually pelted on this website should be more widely distributed, OR more intelligently maybe the brilliant contributors should looked themselves in the mirror and realize they are just talking a lot of rubbish (like no change whatsoever in 18 years, or not real impact on sea-ice around Antarctica, or … or …). Funnily enough the world is a tiny bit larger than the Guernsey-London corridor.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        There has indeed been no statistically significant increases in World temperatures since 1998. This despite the increases in C02 concentrations. The computer forcasts were clearly totally wrong. Even over he last 100 years the changes are certainly not abnormal.

        • hefner
          Posted May 16, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

          We are not talking computer forecasts, but actual surface measurements. Maybe as a scientist you might want to consult proper references.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 16, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

            But you are talking about increases of tenths of one degree measured globally as an average.
            Outside statistical variation limits set by the IPCC.

            We were told that temperatures would rise significantly post 2000 but they haven’t.
            Even after the recalibration and moving of some earth measuring stations and changing the mix of land and satellite data on the overall total they still can’t get much of a rise for their headlines.

    • Mark
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      I suspect her agenda may be partly motivated by trying to persuade the EU that the UK should be trusted to make laws that are at least as good as those in the EU for providing social justice, and that therefore we do not need to submit to EU jurisdiction as proposed by them.

  2. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    The German economy is doing just fine, a massive trade surplus and GDP growth in advance of even the UK and USA, I suppose as the German politicians sit there they think everything is just fine and the EU has been a great success. That complacency will eventually be their downfall.

    • Know-dice
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      When Germany is just a region of the EU super state, how will the Germans feel about ALL of their wealth being filtered off to the poorer EU states?

      Political union has a price and that is an even spread of wealth across all parts of the union…

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      For every surplus there is a deficit. Most of Southern Europe have large deficits caused by the cheap German Euro.
      America sees the problem and no doubt Trump will tackle it.
      The German psyche is to rule. Having failed militarily they see economics as a painless alternative.
      Britain leaving the EU will probably be the catalyst for change.
      If todays report in the Telegraph about the demise of the internal combustion engine is even partially true the mighty German car industry is doomed.
      I don’t believe a word of it though.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Dear Ian–If it is true that Teslas have only 18 moving parts whereas an Escort has 2000 I am a believer

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          Last time I saw a Tesla all the parts were moving forwards. But anyway their must be more than 18 parts? Electric window motors, windscreen wiper motors, regenerative braking systems, four wheels, brakes on all four wheels, the main motor ……

      • hefner
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Have you ever looked how many electric and/or plug-in hybrid models of cars are now available from BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen? And how many from Peugeot-Citroen, Renault, Hyundai, Toyota, … and how many from Nissan, Honda, JLR?

        • Mark
          Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

          Have you looked at the tiny market share they command? Or their limited range and guarantee on battery life? Or worked out how much more electricity we would need to generate and distribute and how that might be done if we are to convert to electric vehicles?

          • hefner
            Posted May 16, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

            In 1850, there were no internal combustion engine vehicles. How many in 1950?
            Have you looked at the growth rate of electric cars in a market like California? It is one thing to say that the market is presently very limited, another to say as IW that the German car industry is doomed.
            A bit of thinking before writing would not go amiss.

      • Andy
        Posted May 17, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        The Germans will find out eventually that the massive Target 2 surplus is a mirage. One way or another the Germans are going to pay a huge price for their ‘European Dream’ and I doubt most of them will be willing to pay it.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      @Roy Grainger; “Complacent” is the one thing Germany is not, and has not been since the early 1940s.

      • Mitchel
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        I imagine the aftermath of the complacency of “we only have to kick the door in and the whole rotten edifice will collapse” would have taught them a lesson or two.Although their re-newed interest in Eastern Europe in recent years might suggest memories are fading.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 15, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          @Mitchel; That comment says far more about your own, outdated, attitudes and beliefs than it does those of the German nation.

          • Mitchel
            Posted May 16, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            Of course it is.You will have to explain what that has to do with EU-German interest in eastward expansion and the technocratic management of the wayward peoples of the East.

          • Mitchel
            Posted May 16, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

            The view expressed by technocrats like Keynes that Germany would be a better manager of territory/resources rather than,say,Poland-expressed at the time of the Versailles Peace remains very current I would say.

          • Andy
            Posted May 17, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

            German Foreign Policy aims and ambitions have not changed since unification is 1871.The EU is basically a different way for Germany to achieve what she has failed to do by force of arms. With the UK gone she has what she has always wanted: a ‘German Europe’. Go read Rohl’s biography of the Kaiser.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted May 15, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          Dear Mitchel–I don’t know where the Centre of Gravity of the EU is but I’d bet a cheap half bottle of wine that it is in Germany

          • Mitchel
            Posted May 16, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

            My reply to you has appeared under the previous poster.

    • rose
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      When M Macron doesn’t get her backing for plan A – to have one government for the Eurozone, effectively redistributing Germany’s wealth, he will have to go to plan B: a visit to Italy. France and Italy will have to agree to come out of the Euro together. How will that go down in Berlin?

      • bigneil
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Italy is getting fuller by the day. All the water-taxis from the Libyan coast are ferrying thousands a week there. Wonder how many of those rescue boats have turned the dinghies back – as we were promised many months ago. That turned out to be another lie. The Coudenhove-Kalergi plan is clearly in action.

        • rose
          Posted May 15, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

          At last, questions are being asked in the Italian parliament about this, e.g. from the Vice President of the Parliament: “Who is paying for these Mediterranean taxis and why is he doing it?”

      • hefner
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        I just love the comments about what Germany, France, Italy and the other 24 should/will do. Most people here do not have a clue what Mrs May’s government will do after the June elections.
        Talking rubbish about topics of which people do not know the first thing seems to be even more the new sport.
        Poor Britain.

  3. alte fritz
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    A timely reminder that the European Project is an exercise in futility. The senior partner pulls in a different direction from most of the rest.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      @alte fritz; One could write much the same about some of the states in the USA, does that make the USA futile?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      It is far worse than just “futile”. It is hugely dangerous, profoundly anti-democratic, it destroys jobs and even some people’s lives.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        @LL; “It is hugely dangerous, profoundly anti-democratic, it destroys jobs and even some people’s lives.”

        Indeed, but that is also what many europhiles keep saying about the current political situation in the UK and Brexit in general!

  4. Mark B
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    As Le Pen said; “Whoever wins this election, France will still be govered by a woman.”

    As intimated, French economic policy is controlled by the ECB /EU via Germany. Out of the Euro France like so many could break free of those chains that are dragging it down.

    Macron also needs to radically change the French economy. Something I do not think the people and businesses of France are ready for.

    Good luck to them, they are going to need it.

  5. sm
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Logically, Macron is surely right to want far greater financial unity underpinning the Euro, which really means creating a genuine United States of Europe – but that would mean asking the Germans to support the poorer EU nations indefinitely, and I can’t see them agreeing to this.

    So to all those ardent EU supporters – be careful what you wish for!

  6. alan jutson
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    You win an election, then report for duty.

    Standard practice in the EU.

    I forecast Mr Macron will get very frustrated very soon, as will the French population.

    • bigneil
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      I doubt Mr Macron will get frustrated. He is getting paid to run France, but will just sit back and let Merkel tell him what he WILL do – or else.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Who would want to be President of France knowing that you are going to be a failure or a German stooge.

      • alan jutson
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Ian

        They have had a bit of past practice, according to history, Macron will simply be another one.

        Perhaps good intentions, but the EU will soon fix that.

  7. Original Richard
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    “Germany will be conscious that her 830 bn Euro deposits in the ECB are already lent on at no interest to countries who will struggle to repay.”

    The German plan is that repayment will be made by swapping the debt for some very large assets so that eventually Germany will effectively own the EU.

    Hence :

    “The main German preoccupations will be to avoid any new spending commitments by the EU that Germany might have to pay for, and to keep the austerity pressure on the heavily borrowed countries of the Union”.

    Fortunately we never joined the Euro and are now leaving the EU.

    • hefner
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      … which has not and will not prevent the few remaining British-held companies from being bought by Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, …, or German money.

      • Original Richard
        Posted May 16, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        “… which has not and will not prevent the few remaining British-held companies from being bought by Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, …, or German money.”

        Sorry, but I do not understand the relevance of this remark.

        By “large assets” I do not mean commercial, privately owned companies but state owned assets.

        BTW, if we want to “prevent the few remaining British-held companies from being bought…” then we have a better chance of achieving this outside the EU than inside the EU.

        So fortunately we are leaving the EU.

  8. Biggles
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    “Mr Macron flies to Berlin” It sounds like a subtitle of one of Herge’s Adventures of Tintin.

    No amount of EU sanctions against Russia diminishes Germany’s massive amount of goods and services interchanged. In fact they increase unashamedly. Germany has established herself as a lynch-pin in Europe.
    Marina Le Pen did not smile or laugh when she said one of two women would win the French election, herself or Mrs Merkel.I do not know how long a French President’s political honeymoon lasts in France.
    Mrs Merkel has just knocked for a six North Rhine-Westphalia’s Martin Schulz ( remember him? He was the bearded one in the EU ). So with a very passive German electorate ( some say asleep ) and actually a volatile French body-politic we can expect sparks flying soon.

  9. Bert Young
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    The Macron / Merkel meeting will be nothing but a political farce . Merkel will be over-joyed dealing with a lap dog and Macron will be infused with his new-found appointment . Of course Germany will not release its purse strings and , for the next month , Macron will be tussling with a very tricky number of individuals – all seeking particular forms of power and influence .

    Announcements of “solidarity and unity” will be made following the meeting – the texts have probably been agreed already !. Between the lines is an enormous gap that will not be solved by words ; Germany pulls the strings and France can do nothing about it .

  10. Peter Wood
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Is this not simply the vassal’s duty of fealty to his empress?

    • hefner
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Funny to read all that: as far as I know, Mrs Merkel has not (yet?) taken young Emmanuel by the hand, contrary to the interactions between some others not so long ago.

      • Mitchel
        Posted May 16, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        He did place his hand firmly on her shoulder though!Who’s the Daddy,Mutti?!

  11. Posted May 15, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    On page 237 of his new book “Adults in the Room” ( recommended reading for anyone having second thoughts over Brexit ), Yanis Varoufakis recalls the opening statement from Wolfgang Schäuble at the first Eurogroup meeting he attended as Greek Finance Minister:

    Schäuble said ” Elections cannot be allowed to change economic policy.”

    That’s the shocking reality Macron is up against. Democracy no longer exists for Eurozone countries, the Eurozone is essentially a dictatorship. By proxy Merkel runs the Eurogroup with an iron fist and her stormtrooper Schäuble doesn’t even bother to wrap it up in a velvet glove.

    Merkel will demand Macron carries out his policy of reducing the French deficit to below 3% of GDP while she will point blank refuse to even contemplate collective Eurobonds or any other forms of fiscal transfer which Macron knows are essential to make the Euro work.

    In a word, Merkel will try and treat Macron in exactly the way as she treated Hollande : like her Poodle.

    Merkel is cynically intent on trying to keep the flawed structure of the Euro going at least until the end of her next term in office as it is so uniquely beneficial to German industry. She cares not one jot that unemployment, particularly amongst the young, will remain at record levels in many parts of the EZ.

    Only if Macron and others can collectively stare her down can they possibly succeed. I’m not holding my breath……………..

    • Andy
      Posted May 17, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      It doesn’t matter how you cut it, but the Euro is a complete disaster just as many foretold it would be – our ‘Host’ for one, Wynne Godley, Bernard Connolly, Milton Friedman to name a few. I’m shocked and dismayed at what has happened in Greece and the seemingly callous indifference with which the Greeks have been treated. A third of the Greek economy has been burnt to the ground in the name of this mad scheme. All I can see is that Greece is now in the deep freeze of recession and I doubt there will be a meaningful recovery in Greece – that third of the economy wont be recovered in at least a generation, if then. I’m starting to think that Merkel is actually barking.

  12. Chris
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Slightly O/T, but it is reported in the Press today that A C Grayling, who is apparently fighting to overturn the Referendum result, has said that he and his movement are receiving support from “EU agents”.
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/804428/Oxbridge-Grayling-EU-MEPs-Brexit-resistance

    This seems totally unacceptable to me, and highly subversive. Is there anything the Government can do to ensure democracy prevails in the face of this apparent onslaught from left wing and other activists.

    Reply Democracy will prevail. This election can secure a good majority for Brexit in the Commons.

    • DaveM
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      The man is an irrelevance in my opinion. He is – like a few other prominent figures – just a voice in the corner talking to like-minded people and printed in like-minded publications. These kind of stories are non-stories now, just wheeled out by the likes of the Express and Breitbart to further strengthen the resolve of their conspiracy-obsessed readers.

      Doesn’t even irritate me any more.

  13. DaveM
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    “Come to Berlin tomorrow Emmanuel, there’s a good boy. Don’t do ANYTHING until we’ve told you exactly how to do it.”

    Vive la France. Soon to be be referred to as (another country ed)

    • Paul w
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      DaveM..you wish..its this kind of old claptrap thinking that has us in the fix we’re in! ..we wiill see soon enough that Macron is very much his own man completely uncontaminated by a political past…he will do whats best for france and for europe. But the question is..whats mrs May going to do?..that is the big question?

      • DaveM
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Paul,

        Quite the opposite. I wish all European countries were independently governed as they once were and that France was able to inaugurate a President without blue and yellow flags everywhere reminding the populace that their Head of State isn’t really the Head of State any more . I have no objection to a council of European leaders who cooperate for the common good, but all I see is a supranational bureaucracy which seeks to destroy Europe for its own benefit.

        “Macron his own man..completely uncontaminated… without a political past?” My thinking may be “claptrap” as you so judgementally put it, but if you believe what you’ve written about Macron, your thinking is just plain naive.

        • DaveM
          Posted May 15, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          PS. Exactly what fix are we in please?

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        …he will do whats best for france and for europe. But the question is..
        Many have tried that but the unions and student population won’t wear it.
        Macron will fail within 12 months as soon as everyone sees he is continuity Hollande, the establishments man.
        12 on CAPTCHA today

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    France displays the EU flag at the inauguration of its national President, and by normal flag protocol accords the EU flag higher status than the French national flag. This is what would legitimately happen if the EU flag was that of a federation which was legally superior to its component states; so, for example, the US federal flag must always be given the position of honour as superior to the flag of any one state. It is not consistent with claims that France is still a sovereign state even while it is a member state of the EU.

    • rose
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      And did you notice he couldn’t sing his own national anthem on the night of his victory? All around him people were singing it lustily but he couldn’t manage it. Brigitte Trogneux must have forgotten to coach him in that bit of the proceedings.

      He has said there is no such thing as French culture. He must mean it.

      • Mark
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        I think he hates it. There is a verse not sung these days that begins:

        Quoi! des cohortes étrangères
        Feraient la loi dans nos foyers!

        Can’t be singing and objecting about foreigners making the law in France given his attitude to EU supremacy.

  15. Posted May 15, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    At least Macron knows who is the boss!

  16. agricola
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Germany, though the major contributor, and via the ECB the effective banker of the EU project does not appear to be ready to take the steps that would turn the EU into the USEU. I suspect for her to be persuaded to do so she would demand a wholesale reformation of the EU as it is now. Even with this there is no certainty that the German people would buy into it. To quote a saying , it would be trying to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. Better start with a piece of new silk.

  17. jason wells
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    The EU is heading towards a multi-speed project which will become more evident after the German elections. Between them, Macron and Merkel, will do what is needed to reform the union for what is needed and acceptable to its people and any talk from here about failure in Europe is only pie in the sky- we should be much more concerned about our own miserable prospects. Sorry to say

    • rose
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      What is needed and acceptable to its people is for them to have their own currencies and laws. No chance of the German Chancellor or the new French President understanding that, so no chance of their arranging it.

  18. Mick
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Off topic, but is it just me or as anyone else notice how much airtime the Labour Party is getting on the eu loving BBC/Sky talk about bias

    • Bob
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      @Mick

      “talk about bias”

      Okay, the monitoring group News-Watch looked at the BBC R4 Today prog and concluded that there was “overwhelming negativity” about Leaving the EU.

      During the six three-hour morning shows from Monday 29 March to Saturday 4 April, Today fielded 124 guests on Article 50 but only eight, 6.5 per cent, were “given the space to make substantive arguments that the future for the UK outside the EU would yield significant benefits”.

      It also claimed that in the survey period BBC correspondents “displayed what can only be described as a strong common editorial bias against Brexit”.

      The report has added fuel to concerns that the Corporation has been covertly backing the continuing Remain campaign despite being funded by the taxpayer through the licence fee and having a duty to be impartial.

      This just confirms what most of us already knew.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      It’s wall to wall Farron at the moment.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Mick, not only the Labour party but the SNP too!! Let’s face it, they represent only a very small percentage of the population of the UK. Sturgeon thinks she’s God.

  19. acorn
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    While Germany runs a banzai export led economy, breaking EU rules, it has to import lots of other peoples currency. Exporting to eighteen other countries that use the same currency as Germany, results in Germany banking a lot of EURO. That’s what the €830 billion balance is in the TARGET2 accounts http://sdw.ecb.europa.eu/reports.do?node=1000004859

    German Banks lend cheap like crazy to other Eurozone countries, so they can buy German cars; washing machines; gas turbines etc etc. Germany effectively exports its unemployment to the Club-Med counties. German politicians, then want to punish their economies for having too many unemployed, non-productive citizens using a currency they can’t afford.

    • Mark
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      I note that the ECB itself is now running a substantial Target2 deficit (€183bn). That means it is being propped up by Germany. Also, some of the German surplus is effectively hidden in the large surplus for tiny Luxembourg with its capacity as the EU pet tax haven bank, and possibly in the unusual surplus in Finland.

      • acorn
        Posted May 17, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        Mark, the ECB is not propped up by anybody, it is the currency issuer. It has a bottomless pit of Euro. All the Euro member states are currency users and sell Bonds to raise Euro cash in a market. It’s a crazy system.

  20. Antisthenes
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    At the inception of EU France was seen as an equal partner to Germany. That has long since passed and are now very much the junior partner. Are are the rest of EU members. The odd member out was the UK as being subservient is not a role we have ever had to play and Brexit proves we have no intention of doing so now. The EU although it was meant to be is not a club of equals and it has had the effect of creating that which it was meant to avoid. German hegemony over Europe.

    Macron is in the mould of Justine Trudeau of Canada, a soppy socialist. Canada is now bearing the high price from electing Trudeau as Prime Minister and so will France suffer the same from electing Macron to be President. His immediate departure to Berlin and his declaration of an ever dying love for the EU would suggest that he is going to be the glove puppet of Merkel who will take it in turns with Brussels to be the puppet master. It amazes me how many of the worlds leaders are ready to prostate themselves at the alter of progressive socialism. The most divisive and economically and socially damaging faith based ideology ever invented. Even Merkel a purported conservative prays there. In fact she as installed herself as the high priestesses.

    • Margaret Howard
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      Not subservient? Still a subject though of the establishment led by the royals?

  21. E.S Tablishment
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    It is amusing to hear our media speak of the unity of France and Germany. Of course our relatively young journalists never experienced even the immediate aftermath of the war, say in 1950-1960, a kind of thinking satirised as late as 1975 in Fawlty Towers in the world famous “Don’t mention the war!”. But if your own country is invaded. You always “remember” even if you were born half a century later. Nothing, absolutely nothing deep within you will forgive. Ten times worse if you are proudly French. A memory which does not forgive the UK for the Heights of Quebec Battle 1759. The French Canadians know 1759 was only the day before yesterday. The French in France know they are mistaken. It was this morning.

  22. Freeborn John
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood. I would be interested in your views as to the relative merits of two possible post-Brexit trading options between the Uk & EU, namely (i) WTO most-favoured nation arrangements and (ii) unilateral free trade (presumably initiated by the UK only). It seems to me that the UK should expect the Article 50 negotiations to fail as the EU appear to want them to fail for fear of a successful UK undermine their entire case for the EU’s existence. All the evidence, especially the invention of a £100bn “exit fee” to be agreed before the EU will even begin to discuss free-trade (and then only in areas where it has a surplus!) indicates a lack of desire on their part for a negioated agreement. Furthermore, I see no serious preparations from the Uk government to prepare for WTO trading arrangements. For example no efforts to disentangle the UK’s “schedules” at the WTO from the EU’s. Nor are there any efforts to expand the systems at UK ports to handle a greater volume of trade subject to customs or paperwork. This leads me to think that the UK cannot expect either a comprehensive managed free trade agreement with the EU or to be trading with Europe under WTO terms and that therefore unilateral free trade is the only practical option that can be ready for March 2019.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Fox’s department has been working on the schedules for months:

      https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2016-12-05/HCWS316/

      At present the aim is to keep close to existing schedules, later – once we have left the EU – they can be gradually modified as seems appropriate.

    • rose
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      I agree they can’t be wanting to have successful negotiations. It isn’t just the colossal sums of money, and denying a share of the assets, but the way they are going about the reciprocal rights of citizens: a huge and unreasonable list of demands for their citizens and their relations, and its oversight into the far future by the ECJ. Insisting on the N Ireland border preceding trade talks also smacks of wanting the negotiations to fail. How can you talk about the border if you don’t know what its requirements might be? These matters are clearly intended to go on interminably so that the trade talks never materialise.

  23. lojolondon
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    The MSM seems to be glossing over the realities of the French election. Macron may be the president, but he has no power base, not one single MP, nevermind a majority in parliament. the implications are stark – imagine, for example, Caroline Lucas being the ‘president’ of the UK, and trying to get legislation through a parliament that is 50% conservative, 30% Labour and 20% other. France has not even begun to discover how much trouble they are in. Put money on a resignation and a new French president before too long….

    Reply He may secure support in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.

    • rose
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      I suspect he will pick up hundreds of new La Republique En Marche members and then add to them from the two main parties. People like power and influence. Picking a nominal Republicain PM is a good move. Neither of them has had the experience needed, though. It reminds me of Blair and Brown. And if the Republicains don’t get a majority, does Philippe have to resign or does he become a nominal something else?

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    The latest twisting and turning from Nicola Sturgeon is summarised here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/14/sturgeon-independent-scotland-may-need-phased-return-to-eu

    It confirms:

    1. Like most of its advocates she sees EFTA not as a staging post on the way out of the EU, but as a relatively easy way to get back into the EU once we have had a change of mind, or at least a change of government. Those who say they want to leave the EU, but claim that as an interim or temporary step we should try to stay in the EEA by getting into EFTA, need to explain how they could guarantee that we would ever move on from that rather than moving back into the EU, whether or not that is what they personally wanted.

    2. She concedes that the UK will inevitably leave the EU before Scotland could separate from the UK, so it would not be a case of Scotland staying in the EU while the rest of the UK left but of Scotland separating from the UK and then applying to join the EU.

    That would have two obvious consequences:

    a) If the UK leaving the EU was in truth economically damaging then Scotland could not hope to escape much of that damage, a large part which would happen before Scotland managed to separate from the UK and accede to the EU; and

    b) Scotland could not hope to keep any of the UK’s present EU treaty opt-outs when it want back into the EU, so for example it would be required to join the euro.

    She can forget any idea that the Scots could in some way evade that commitment, because if the governments of some of the EU member states thought that they might try that on then they would not allow Scotland to join.

    I can see some sense in the Scots being allowed a second vote on separation from the rest of the UK once we have left the EU and there has been a reasonable chance to see how it actually works out in practice, say in 2024 ten years after the first referendum.

    But I can see no sense at all in having a second referendum in the autumn of 2018 0r the spring of 2019 just on the grounds that the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU should then be clear, when the practical effects of withdrawal would still be largely a matter for conjecture and Scotland could not in any case escape most of them.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      The amount of people who care what wee Kranky thinks gets less every day.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 16, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        I think that’s true, she’s losing credibility.

  25. Old Medicine
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Whe we were kids our mothers would take us to the doctors. We did not “book in”. We sat and waiteduntil it was our turn. We walked into his room and he didn’t bother or need to ask our names. He did not have an open file on us. He asked: “What is the problem?” . He solved it.
    Today, we can’t just wander in, we are advised “Don’t visit your doctor unless it is an emergency” . It seems they can’t get their playstations to work properly. There’s progress for you.

  26. forthurst
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    “Both countries say they want a political union…”

    Over sixty percent of the French want out; nobody knows what the Germans think because it has been deemed that allowing the Germans to think is too dangerous to people who have no inherent right to even be in Europe, but presume, nevertheless, to tell us all what we must believe, however preposterous or self-harming.

    The way that the MSM in France shamelessly selected and promoted Macron on an entirely spurious ticket demonstrated that those that own the MSM have the power to pervert democracy and use it shamelessly.

    • hefner
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Do you realise that with the French system of primaries on the right in November, on the left in January, then before the first run at the end of April the first debate with 5 candidates, the second with the 11 candidates, and before the second run between Macron and Le Pen, the French people have had multiple opportunities to hear the candidates being questioned not only by journalists but also by their opponents.

      Compare that to what is presently happening in the UK.

      And it is false to say that sixty percent of the French want out of the EU. Given how explicitly European Macron is, I would think 66% of the French who voted were at least not against the EU or could not care less about the EU. So completely at variance with your comment.
      And if you account for the abstentions and the blank votes, that’s still around 45% (by the way, a percentage much higher than any British PM has ever been elected with in the last forty years).

      • forthurst
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        Did the MSM undermine those candidates with a realistic chance of making it to the second round in order to leave Macron in a run off with Le Pen? The Frenxh have been sold an EU stooge; expect Macron’s party to make little headway in the June elections with interesting times ahead.

      • Mark
        Posted May 15, 2017 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        Your comment might have validity if British elections chose the PM on a last 2 standing basis as the French do their president. I suspect that Corbyn’s score would be substantially less than le Pen’s. Polling suggests it would be less than 25% to 75%+ for May on a direct head to head.

        • hefner
          Posted May 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          Mark, agreed. Corbyn is beyond redemption.

  27. Posted May 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Re: workers on boards:

    are British workers different from other workers? I ask simply because, many years ago, I lived in Norway where my husband was working in a Norwegian factory. There were worker-representatives on the board there. When the company hit a bad patch, they were able to go to the shop floor workers and say, ‘We’ve seen the books. No point expecting pay rises this year’, which their co-workers were prepared to accept, especially as the management too were prepared to forego pay increases. There was much more mutual respect and co-operation in Norway between workers and management than here, it seems. (The company survived and went from strength to strength.)

    ChrisS: I too am reading Yanis Varoufakis’s book, ‘Adults in the Room’. It has made me even more repentant over my reluctant Remain vote; but also fearful of the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. This book deals with the duplicity, wiliness and lack of good faith which seem to be institutionalised in the EU. Of course, we are in a stronger position than Greece was; but the ideological commitment of the EU High Command to the sanctity of the union is frightening, as is their ruthlessness in crushing threats to it. I hope our negotiators are forewarned and forearmed.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      ‘We’ve seen the books. No point expecting pay rises this year’
      What’s the difference between worker-representatives and managers saying that same thing? Either the workers accept it or move jobs. You’re implying that workers don’t trust their managers/owners in Norway?

  28. Noddy
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    No indication ongoing from the BBC and Sky News why the election of President Macron and what he has for breakfast, his choice of ties, whether he thinks the weather inclement or not day to day should be related to us every day and several times of day.

    We even had TV cameras awaiting his arrival to meet Mr Hollande hours before he was due and a commentary of the fact that Mr Hollande and he would meet “sometime” to talk and..er erm meet. Then we saw them coming out in single file, the two of them, after they..erm erm …met and we were told several times they met and talked and…they met.
    Has no Hollywood star met the love of her life again? Her 10th secret marriage with two hundred photographers present for the marriage ceremony to the man of her dreams?
    There can’t be many people other than Francophiles in the UK who give a jot about President Macron and whether France has a President, King or Emperor . Who cares?

  29. Posted May 15, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Macron. Petain.
    Spot the difference.

    He couldn’t be more transparently going to fetch his instructions from his German masters if he tried!

  30. Richard W
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Compare your view on that issue with that of Janan Ganesh in tomorrow’ s Financial Times, “Emmanuel Macron’s vision to revive Franco-German relations”. He makes the very interesting point that Britain has thrived on disunity and friction between France and Germany in past years.

    • rose
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Thrived? Typical FT reinterpretation. More like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke.

  31. hefner
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    For those who like those things: Macron’s first degree is in Philosophy, and he is not Kierkegaard but Ricoeur.
    (This for all the PPE lovers).

  32. Prigger
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just watched the press conference of Macron and Merkel. I looked for tell-tale body language. Useless for Merkel as she seems much like a stalagmite.

    Macro however, is young and less staid. As soon as Merkel mentioned the possibility in “talks” of a “Unified tax system” presumably between France and Germany or between all EU member states, Macron’s eyes diverted to the right and slightly uplifted. Not a roll of the eyes as he was behaving his Sunday Best but more like the equivalent of that old Vodka advert on TV where it satirically showed a Russian man before a poster where a character, a comrade, was looking far into the distance with the caption “Communism is coming on the distant horizon comrades” with the Russian viewer squinting his eyes quizzically and he too looking to the distant sky before raising his hand and then waving it quickly downwards and foo-fooing the very idea as stupidly crazy.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

    Promoted by Fraser McFarland on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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