The Political Economy Review 2017

to prosperity is their own fault. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s reforming Prime Minister can try all he can, but there is simply not enough economic reform in the world which can offset the need for a cultural revolution. Furthermore, even as there are signs that Japan’s business practises might be taking a turn for the better, as long as Japan has a shrinking population, it simply cannot escape devastating stagnation.



Macron and the EU

On 7th May 2017 Emmanuel Macron made history by becoming the youngest President the country has ever seen. However, his biggest success came a few weeks later when his newly founded party, “En Marche!” and “MoDem”, led by François Bayrou, won a landslide victory obtaining a total of 350 out of 577 parliamentary seats. The term ‘Europhile’ is one that has been thrown around a lot in recent times and is one that perfectly describes Mr Macron, with the President-elect stating “I will defend Europe; it is our civilisation which is at stake... I will work to rebuild ties between Europe and its citizens,” promising to lead a rebirth of the European project in his acceptance speech. Emmanuel Macron’s campaign had a big focus on European togetherness and throughout his short political campaign he has always been in favour of greater co-operation within the EU on fiscal and social regulations. Macron has always been in favour of a unified European Union but has plans to reform it, by introducing a common Eurozone budget and a Eurozone finance minister. Why would the EU need a budget? They could do this and become “fully federal” in the hope that a federal construction would help bring stability which would mean federal taxation powers, hence giving them the ability to issue debt. In order for this to be realistic, a euro- area state would have to be created, creating a major shift in powers from the national capitals to the federal level. Mr Macron has shown enthusiasm towards a more universal and global approach to trade. He is the only presidential candidate to support the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada, which has huge potential to boost growth and employment across all of the Eurozone. CETA will boost European exports in a similar way as it has in previous trade deals with countries such as South Korea (raising European exports to South Korea by approx. 47.5%) as well as drastically reducing the cost of factors of productions for businesses. Unemployment rates across Europe would also be expected to see improvements as studies have shown that every €1 billion increase in exports tends to create 14,000 jobs. The deal will also broaden the reach of European businesses on Canadian markets, who have agreed to give these businesses even better terms than all other prior international trade agreements Canada have made, including an upper hand advantage for European firms when bidding for Canadian public contracts. Mr Macron’s strong EU spirit is also emphasised with his very vocal backing of Angela Merkel’s attitude towards immigration, where he has promised to welcome all refugees in search of protection, portraying a strong image of European unity and ensuring that other countries, such as Greece, are not affected more than other members of the EU. Luckily for the EU they are not dealing with Marine Le Pen, who would have firmly regulated and reduced the flow of immigrants coming across the French border, which would have crippled the EU’s efforts to help in the current refugee crisis. Whilst Macron has made many efforts to unify the EU, his most recent failure to make Poland comply with the EU migration quotas bring his leadership into question. Such humiliation was brought upon him by the Polish Prime Minister, Beata Szydlo, who claimed that Macron


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