José Alves (Capital Madrid) | France is experiencing a historic moment in its rail industry: the beginning of the end of the national public service monopoly for passenger transport. Since the nationalisation of the network (1937) this has been in the hands of the state-owned SNCF. The government had announced this, as required by the EU, but it will be another three and a half years before the decision taken…
Nick Ottens (Atlantic Sentinel) | The unexpectedly strong performance of the center-right in France’s regional elections calls Emmanuel Macron’s reelection strategy into question. The liberal incumbent has been leaning to the right expecting he would need their support to defeat the far right’s Marine Le Pen in a presidential runoff. But if the center-right Republicans regroup, Macron risks not even qualifying for the runoff. Relations with the center-right Polls still…
Crédito y Caución (Atradius) | In the first quarter of this year, French GDP grew 0.4% quarter- on- quarter, supported by the fact that another nationwide lockdown was held off until April. Growth was mainly driven by investment spending and a modest increase in private consumption. While the growth rate in Q2 will be affected by the comprehensive lockdownmeasures imposed in April, the gradual easing of those restrictions in May…
The New York Times claims Macron has ordered a “broad government crackdown against Muslim individuals and groups.” The World Socialist Web Site, in a widely retweeted story, accuses Macron of “whipping up … anti-Muslim hysteria.” An American sociologist who researches white supremacists laments that French officials “respond to violent extremism with violent extremism.” What is this “broad crackdown”? Macron’s government has closed a mosque, which was run by a radical imam. A number of arrests have been made. “Anti-Muslim hysteria”? 51 more Islamic organizations are being investigated for alleged extremist sympathies. What about “violent extremism”? There are plans to take away the French passports of 231 foreign-born criminals.
Luis Alcaide (Capital Madrid) | Next Sunday, the 15th, municipal elections will be held. To what extent will national problems, such as the controversial reform of pensions by decree, influence the results?
Abertis’ French subsidiary, Sanef, has reached an agreement with the French government to implement a new €147 million investment programme to modernise its network. It exchange, it has secured anual tariff hikes from 2019 to 2021.
MADRID | The Corner | EU posts marginal growth stats, but the figures are indicative of slow pace of recovery.
MADRID | The Corner | Markets were sad on Monday until Mario Draghi emerged and spoke his magic words. It seems markets feel more secure every time the president of the ECB takes the lead and assures everything will be alright. Investors felt more confident after his intervention at the European Parliament’s Economic and Financial Committee. However, despite his speech regarding new potential actions in monetary policy, he also highlighted the need of deep structural reforms by the Members States. According to market watchers at Link Securities, sooner or later, “such reforms will have to be faced by Italy or France’s government, because it is necessary to make them competitive and able to grow again.”
John Bruton | I recently attended a conference that looked at France’s domestic economic situation, and the impact that has on the country’s global and European role. According to budgets published in October, France and Italy are failing to meet the eurozone’s requirements for reducing government debts and deficits to sustainable levels.
MADRID | The Corner | The European Commission said on Tuesday it had found no serious fault with eurozone member states’ 2015 budget plans, clearing France and Italy after they made last-minute changes to meet EU demands. The budget review covered all 18 eurozone countries, with the focus on struggling France and Italy after Brussels told them that their original plans fell well short of what was required to meet European Union norms.