Emmanuel Macron won the presidency of France today with an estimated 65.5 per cent of the vote. How his win will impact the ratification of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) remains to be seen.
In a statement issued today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says, “I look forward to working closely with President-elect Macron in the years ahead as we work together on a progressive agenda to promote international security, increase collaboration in science and technology, and create good, middle class jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. This also includes implementing [CETA].”
Trudeau has reason to be hopeful on this front. CNN has reported, “A free-trade supporter, [Macron] campaigned in favor of CETA, the EU’s free trade agreement with Canada, but he’s cautious when it comes to Europe seeking new deals.”
But the Financial Post now reports, “A heated debate over the challenges of globalisation, in particular its impact on French jobs, has dominated the campaign. [Macron] is open to free trade and was the only contender in the first round to voice support for trade pacts such as CETA… But his stance has proved contentious since he made the second-round run-off: he was received with angry jeers and burning tyres in his hometown Amiens when he visited a factory set to be relocated to Poland next year.”
Agence France-Presse adds (in French), “The young elected president seems to have taken into account the growing skepticism of public opinion in the face of economic liberalism, which was expressed through the negotiation of CETA… He therefore proposed to include in all EU trade agreements ‘a strand of fiscal cooperation as well as binding social and environmental clauses’. He further promised to call for the establishment of a set of European social rights which will define ‘minimum standards for training rights, health insurance, unemployment insurance or minimum wages’.”
Prior to his election, Euractiv.com had reported, “In a message of conciliation to voters concerned about globalization, Macron said he would set up a committee to investigate the consequences of [CETA]… He also repeated he would seek fairer EU rules to prevent what he calls ‘social dumping’ – under which companies can move jobs to member countries where labour is cheaper and employ imported workers at lower rates.”
The Daily Mail had noted, “[Macron says] he will begin his five-year term by hiring an environmental task force to probe CETA. He said that he wants to to discover ‘what exactly is the environmental consequences of this agreement … conceived apart from the democratic process, in a form of decision that will have to be changed in Europe for the future’. …Macron is also threatening to overhaul workers rights ‘so that there will be no more unfair competition in Europe’. …[Macron] said he would ‘draw all the conclusions’ after he speaks to the European partners of France to ‘have this text amended’.”
Macron is expected to be sworn in as president on May 14.