For the speakers of the Aix meetings, organized by the Cercle des economistes but relocated to Paris because of Covid-19, the response to climatic or economic challenges goes through Europe.
The solution lies in Europe. The formula was repeated like a mantra by the speakers during the three days of conference organized by the Circle of economists, baptized “Aix-en-Seine”, the Covid-19 having forced the event to relocate to Paris, without a spectator . Whether it is the reorganization of value chains or global trade, “Europe is the key to a new globalization”, according to Yannick Jadot, MEP Europe-Ecology-The Greens. The same goes for the fight against global warming, argued economist Olivier Blanchard. Or the economic consequences of the pandemic.
Progress towards federalism
“Our response must be European and guided by solidarity and convergence”, insisted the President of the European Commission, Ursula Van der Leyen. For the German, “The revival will be European or it will not be”. It also sees in the plan of 750 billion euros of investment, at the initiative of France and Germany, “A new European unity”.
Europe, which is often said to move forward only during crises, seems to have taken a step towards bringing economies closer and deeper integration. “We see something emerging that I would qualify as federalism by exception, that is to say a moment when the State is constituted when there is a crisis”, analysis Henrik Enderlein, la Hertie School of Governance à Berlin.
For Jean-Louis Girodolle, boss of the Lazard bank, “We will perhaps remember this moment as the beginning of federal Europe”, despite the fact that the peoples will not have been consulted. We would therefore be in a “Hamiltonian” moment for the Old Continent, in reference to the American Secretary of State for the Treasury who had made a great leap in federalism in the United States at the end of the 18th century.
But if advanced towards federalism there is, it does not put the Franco-German couple in the closet. Quite the contrary. “Franco-German cooperation is always stronger and more effective than any other cooperation in the world. It is a reason of state ”, considers the German Minister of the Economy, Peter Altmaier. Eric Woerth, the president of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly, agrees: “The lasting strength of Europe is Germany and France”.
“Pause” for the pension reform
The fact remains that we will have to manage the potentially disastrous economic consequences of the crisis, in particular the expected explosion of unemployment at the start of the school year. For it, “The President must speak quickly about the recovery plan” French, wishes Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, the boss of Medef, for whom “The priority is to save the productive system”.
To prevent young people from paying too high a price in September, “There is no other short-term solution than to massively subsidize the work of young people”, argued Eric Woerth. In any case, the time is not to relaunch pension reform, as Emmanuel Macron and Jean Castex, his new Prime Minister, want. “There is such opposition on this subject that we must step back and take the time to discuss cold. We have no interest in putting our heads down on pensions ”, argued Laurent Berger, secretary general of the CFDT. Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux is on the same line: “You have to press the pause button”, he insisted.