March 6, 2021

Macron and Sánchez, close, but less than it seems


Paris correspondent

Updated:

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During a working session, without communication with the Spanish press, Emmanuel Macron and Pedro Sánchez confirmed and coordinated their positions, quite close, before the next European summit: try to raise funds to relaunch national reconstructions in urgent need of international relief.

Macron has promised € 100 billion for reconstruction and the national relaunch of France. The French president hopes that a large part of these funds will be advanced by the EU, under conditions to be negotiated.

The French situation perhaps not as critical as the SpanishBut the French president fears a “hot autumn”, with a substantial increase in mass unemployment, in the coming months.

Given such evidence, assumed, the Macron government France shares with the Sánchez government Spain the need for a “fast” European agreement, in conditions as “bearable” as possible.

Macron, his government and spokesmen have tried to avoid, by all means, confirming the well-justified impression of a very real confrontation of a “Front” of southern Europe (Paris, Rome, Madrid, Lisbon, Greece) against a “northern front” or “austere” (Sweden, Austria, Norway, Holland). Macron feels very “uncomfortable” in front of the squad of “pedigueños”, “Norway lobsters”, “manirotos.

French presidential pride does not support that kind of leadership. Macron aspires to be perceived as the co-author of the european reconstruction fund conceived with Angela Merkel’s Germany. If Macron and Sánchez’s personal and governmental objectives are quite similar, the technical details of the negotiation do not always completely coincide.

Macron’s France has relatively cheap access to debt markets. And the reformist ambitions of the French president partially coincide with the reformist demands of Germany, Sweden, Austria, Norway and the Netherlands.

From that perspective, Sánchez’s government Spain encounters an obstacle well known by financial analysts: The Spanish government began to breach and aggravate its differences with Europe throughout 2019, when debts and deficits grew again, with more expenses and less income, away from the promises and commitments of the State, long before the outbreak of the pandemic and the aftermath of its economic, social and financial crisis.

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