This article from the Economist is honestly the best I’ve read at explaining the current problems facing France, and the challenges for the reform-minded Prime Minister Manuel Valls. There are too many problems in France to simply list here but its clear that Valls has his work cut out for him.
The biggest problem essentially is that Valls is not being fully supported by his socialist base. As a candidate in the Socialist primary elections in 2011, Valls finished with only 5% of the vote. Needless to say that few partisans on the French left supported his Blairite form of governance. The issues rests in the simple fact that France remains far too focused on social aspects of the economy than on the practical, every day sides. Instead of arguing that reforming unemployment compensation and ease of access into the labor market impacts the unemployed, perhaps we should say it would give rise to new jobs. Rather than focus on the fact that reforming pensions might mean working an extra year or two, perhaps French politicians should argue that pension reform will give an opportunity for everyone to one day retire, including my generation!
France faces major issues in the economic narratives presented to the electorate. For many years, politics was framed through the prism of the social model, and what more the government could give. Times have changed, and French leaders need to adopt their discourse to selling economic liberalism. Doing so would also help counter the advances of the National Front who, for some odd reason, have adopted a neo-communist economic policy. Manuel Valls has discovered this gap in economic narratives, hopefully there is still time for him to convince the Socialist Party that this discourse is one worth following.