Policy Briefs

C. Bastasin: Will the French elections deliver a German Europe?

In a famous speech in 1953, Thomas Mann, a towering figure of German and world literature, called on the Germans to resist the temptations of aggressive nationalism. The novelist appealed to an audience of students in Hamburg, urging them to strive not for a German Europe, but a European Germany.

In a paradox of history, Mann’s appeal could be undermined by the decisions of the French electorate.

In this brief analysis, we will consider the potential consequences of the upcoming French national elections. We focus specifically on the fiscal and financial repercussions of French political instability. We observe that political instability or anti-European stances in France could weaken the traditional “core Europe” formed around Franco-German cooperation. Even if France manages to avoid a devastating fiscal-financial crisis (which would bring havoc to Italy), its days as a pillar of the European “core” may be counted. Traumatic changes in France have the potential to damage the whole European project.

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