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France is about to bring the EU to the brink of collapse

By Allister Heath


It is a terrifying showdown, an epic moment of truth that threatens to blow up the EU, trigger another Eurozone crisis and, just three days into his prime ministership, throw Sir Keir Starmer’s immigration and trade plans into disarray. In two weeks’, time, France will have either elected the most radical Right-wing populist government ever to control a nuclear power, opted for a rabidly anti-capitalist, anti-Western, far-Left coalition, or proved itself to be entirely ungovernable.

The centre won’t hold. In extremis, President Emmanuel Macron may even have to resign. Chaos could overshadow the Olympics. I fear for the France I love, but above all I am angry at decades of failure by an arrogant, pseudo-meritocratic, overly Cartesian ruling class whose hatred of classical liberalism and disdain for conservative values are forcing the country into such an unpalatable choice.

The election’s impact will be explosive. Macron has bequeathed a 5.5 per cent of GDP budget deficit and a 110 per cent of GDP national debt. These have already led to the country’s credit rating being downgraded and to the EU launching an investigation for breach of the stability and growth pact. French bond yields are surging in anticipation of drastic fiscal loosening whoever wins the election, potentially leading to a full-on financial crisis.

The Front Populaire – a miserable alliance of the extreme Left, socialists, communists, greens and assorted misfits – wants an immediate €50 billion a year tax increase and at least €106 billion extra a year in spending. It wants to raise income tax, reintroduce a punitive wealth tax, cap inheritances, jack up the minimum wage to €1,600 after tax a month and the pay of public sector workers by 10 per cent, cancel Macron’s few positive reforms, and cut the retirement age to 62…


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