‘We are not the devil’: France Inc. is wrestling with the new political order

SEE the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, Nov. 28, 2015. – REUTERS

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France-France’s business elites are struggling to survive in a new more hostile political order a month after far-right and left-wing parties robbed President Emmanuel Macron’s government of its control over parliament.

The country’s corporate leaders, gathered for an annual business conference in southern France, last spent fifive years safe in the knowledge that the Macron government could push its pro-business reform agenda more unimpeded.

Not only can the Macron government no longer expect parliament to stamp out its plans, but opposition parties are impatient to use their new power to completely rewrite its proposed law.

A chief executive officer (CEO) at one of France’s largest industrial companies said they have contacted some of the new legislators and meanwhile are paying more attention to pipeline laws.

“We need to explain to a lot of new people in parliament that we are not the absolute devil and that we are doing some good things,” the CEO told Reuters during a break in France’s response to the Davos forum.

In the lead part of the anti-capitalist France Insoumise (France Unbowed), the leftwing alliance Nupes is particularly eager to flits ex in the newly found muscle in parliament.

The far -right National Rassemblement (National Rally) has not yet stated how disruptive it will be. It also remains to be seen if Macron’s party can win cooperation from conservative Les Republicains.

Meanwhile, memories of large-scale “yellow vest” street protests and violence in 2018 remain in the minds of ministers, leaving the government eager to avoid the possibility of adding a political crisis to a cost crisis. in lifestyle.

That means the government and public finances are vulnerable to pressure to alleviate households ’inflation pain through costly new measures to support their incomes, said Paul Hermelin, chairman of French IT consultancy Capgemini.

“Let’s not underestimate the fact that the results of the recent elections have created a chaotic situation with a very hostile leader on the left,” he said.

“That could lead the government to make salary concessions to avoid strikes,” he said.

Mr. Macron’s government has aggressively launchedflrelief, latest with new 20 billion euro ($ 20.4-billion) package of measures from 4% increase in welfare and pension benefits and 3.5% salary hike for civil servants.

While some companies seek to build bridges with opposition parties, others rely on their public support disappearing as voters who elected them come to the conclusion that their most radical commitments are not. enforceable.

“I told the prime minister, we are in a strange situation … But the French will realize the futility of what is being said to them,” the chairman of another French industrial company told Reuters.

Meanwhile, other business leaders are confident that the political necessity of passing laws amid a cost of living and energy crisis will force more radical parties to retreat.

“There are parties in parliament that have a tighter position than others, and they just have to learn to be responsible,” said the chairman of a major company in France. – Reuters