French government resigns after minister dares criticize government’s obedience to Germany
The prime minister of France, Manuel Valls, presented his government’s resignation this morning in a hissy fit brought on by criticism from another minister over economic policy.
Arnaud Montebourg, the economic minister, who has the Orwellian title of Minister of Industrial Renewal, criticized his own party for adhering to German austerity policies in the face of a continued economic slump.
“France is the eurozone’s second-biggest economy, the world’s fifth-greatest power, and it does not intend to align itself, ladies and gentlemen, with the excessive obsessions of Germany’s conservatives,” Montebourg said in a speech on Saturday.
But Valls, who was the mayor of Évry from 2001 to 2012, has been compared to Tony Blair in his economic outlook, and has been a strong supporter of austerity. Meanwhile, his government, and that of President François Hollande, are hugely unpopular in France as unemployment remains over 10 percent and economic growth is miniscule. Nonetheless, the official economic policies of the country continue to mimic that of Germany, which has advocated for less government spending, lowering deficits, and cutting taxes.
By dissolving the government, Valls can now try and pick up the pieces again, minus his economic’s minister. Whether he can do that, though, is in doubt.
In the second quarter of this year, the 18-country country euro area failed to grow, and both Germany and Italy recorded economic contraction. France’s economy remains frozen, recording no growth in the past two quarters. With no growth, and low inflation, some have called on European leaders to stimulate their economies, something Germany flatly rejects. With interest rates at historic lows, borrowing to stimulate their economy would add debt, but debt repayments would be low, advocates of stimulus argue.