Fillon’s surprising victory in the French primary saw him outclassing rivals such as Nicolas Sarkozy and the mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppé. In the socialist camp, current President Francois Hollande has already pulled out of the running. Instead, several candidates, including the less popular Emanuel Valls, are trying to secure the candidacy. However, hardly anyone in France believes there will be a significant success for the left, regardless of which candidate is put forward.
The country has been in a significant economic crisis for years. National debt has reached almost 100 percent in relation to gross domestic product (GDP). Unemployment, particularly among skilled young people, is very high and is just as unlikely to improve as investment is to increase. Francois Fillon is regarded as having conservative catholic values and aware of markets. Raised in the French arrondissement of Le Mans, Fillon quickly announced his first steps. The inflated state sector will be slimmed down and the healthcare system, which is not market-oriented, will no longer operate purely as a plan-based distribution machine for public funds. Unique German attributes such as contracting services and more competitive structures are gaining a great deal of interest, where, for decades, any kind of “competition” has been seen not as an economic distribution tool but rather neoliberal derailment. Fillon knows that “just as it’s been” is not an option for France. However, observers have warned not to alienate voters with such messages.
If there is a second ballot in May 2017, left and extreme left voters will be faced with the alternative of electing either Fillon or, most likely, Marine Le Pen. The latter, as is the nature of populists, will promise almost everything to everyone. If Fillon takes a clear lead in the first round, there will be little danger of this. However, “le Figaro” has asked, what if Marine Le Pen were to lead, even if only by a small margin? The “Trump Effect” is also being felt in France. However, the impact of right-wing extremism in the Élysée Palace would be just as pernicious for us and Europe, including the Euro and Brussles bureaucracy, historical work done on maintaining peace, and the export-critical economic zone. Even a “Plan B” is inconceivable. Once again, the importance of serious economics and well-founded social participation can be seen. Since the crisis that started in 2008, there have been far too many tricks to achieve short-term gain, which has now proven meaningless. This has seemingly done much to destroy the trust of European citizens.