France desperately needs a complete reform

The French government spokesperson announced a few days ago that the country’s presidential election will hold the first round of voting on April 10, 2022, and the second round of voting on April 24. This formally kicked off the prelude to the French election competition. Although the ruling party did not show superiority in the regional elections in late June this year, based on the understanding of French politics and society, the author believes that in a France that urgently needs to vigorously promote reforms, as a pragmatic “reform” “Avant-garde” president, Macron will still be re-elected next year.

France really needs a thorough reform. The urgency and thoroughness of its reforms come from both inside French society and from inside and outside the European Union.

First, the structural problems and even stubborn illnesses of the French domestic system have a long history. As a member of the oldest capitalist group of countries, France is one of the first countries in the world to achieve industrialization. In addition to having large colonies in Africa and other regions in history, France has obvious inherent advantages. However, it is a pity that France did not keep up in time in the new wave of world industrial reform. At the same time, the French government followed the “liberal” trend and gradually withdrew from the country’s leading role in industrial policy. In this way, France has not only lost its due position in the forefront of new technologies in the world, but also lost its original global industrial advantages.

On the other hand, after the leftist led by Mitterrand came to power, the French government began to pursue the principle of “welfare society”, in order to please voters and unrestrainedly grant various benefits, so that the country’s financial income was not able to make ends meet and the debt was high. This kind of “you can eat food” will be difficult to reverse unless thorough reforms are carried out.

Second, after decades of development, the EU has gradually shown a trend of “differentiation”. Among them, Britain and Germany are the biggest challenges to France. As a country of Anglo-Saxon culture, the United Kingdom attaches great importance to innovation and finance. It is really hard to bear to continue to work with cultural countries in continental Europe and finally make a “Brexit” move. Different from the British and American cultures, European countries do not pay much attention to innovation, while European-style finance pays more attention to stability and therefore lacks vitality. This is why in the past few years, so many aspiring French entrepreneurs and financial professionals have left Paris and moved to London.

Although Germany still adopts the traditional European model, it has realized its own innovation in the traditional model. For example, the automobile industry, which the Americans consider as a “sunset industry”, has been innovated by the Germans as a major pillar of the national economy. Other machinery manufacturing industries are also declining in many countries. After being “high-end” and “refined” by the Germans, they have become half of the German economy. In other words, whether it is the United Kingdom, which is culturally different from France, taking the road of innovation and finance, or Germany, which has the same culture as France, taking a high-end and sophisticated road, they have surpassed France and have their own comparative advantages in certain areas of the world. Dominate. The “lonely” France is left. If it does not reform thoroughly, it will be further widened by Britain and Germany.

Third, the pressure for French reform also originates from outside the European Union, especially the rising China and the continuing aggressive United States. If the French have adapted to the tremendous economic, political, and military advantages of the United States, then the French can no longer remain indifferent in the face of the rapidly changing emerging economy of China.

From a French “apprentice” to now in some high-tech fields, he has become a French “master”. The rapid change of position between China and France really caught the French by surprise. Whether it is China’s global leadership in 5G technology, or China’s digital technology comparable to the United States and far surpassing France, it has caused a certain psychological impact and a sense of gap for the French. Many of the author’s friends in Paris, after visiting China, all exclaimed that “Shanghai and Beijing are already more developed than Paris”. All this always forces the French from the outside to reflect and make the determination to innovate.

So who will lead the reform? It depends on who can win the support of the French people more.

France held regional elections in late June. Polls show that the Republic Kadima Party led by Macron won only 10.9% of the votes, the far-right National League led by Le Pen won 19.1% of the votes, and the right-wing party coalition led by the Republican Party won 29.3% of the votes. . It is worth noting that this is the last important election before the 2022 presidential election in France, but in this regional election, 68% of French voters did not vote. It can be called the highest abstention rate in all elections in France except for the referendum. . We must know that the French Regional Council has been shouldering the task of promoting employment and developing the regional economy, such as local economic development, spatial planning, transportation, school management, vocational training, etc., which are closely related to the people’s livelihood in France. Even so, the abstention rate is still so high, indicating that due to various factors, the enthusiasm of the French for this regional election is quite low. The author’s judgment on this is that although some people are worried that the reform will move their own cheese, most French voters should be looking forward to more top-down, fundamentally effective reform measures.

As the “party tendency” of many French media is relatively obvious, some people in the French media are happy and worried about the disappointing performance of the political party led by Macron in the regional elections. The media generally believe that the root cause of the defeat of the Republic’s Kadima Party lies in Macron’s failure to effectively and rapidly recover and grow the French economy after he took office, and the inherent problems of French society still exist. However, French media also believe that Macron’s probability of re-election in next year’s general election is still not low. This is basically the same as that just after President Macron made a televised speech, polls show that the French people still have a 60% approval rate for the speech.

In fact, the problems that have always existed in French society still exist today. First of all, there is nothing more closely related to the people’s livelihood than the growth momentum of the French economy. Second, the degree of inequality in French society does not fall but rises as the epidemic continues. For example, on the one hand, the number of billionaires in France did not decrease but increased during the epidemic; on the other hand, not to mention the homeless people living on the streets, thousands of people who were originally white-collar and gold-collar workers who lost their jobs due to the epidemic. Their mental state is worrying. These are the problems that President Macron needs to solve urgently. Therefore, Macron has advantages and faces challenges.