The Daily Update - Macron / Merkel / Brexit

In a new poll out this morning French President Emmanuel Macron looks to have suffered another dip in his popularity amongst the French population, with an approval rating of just 30%, down 6% over the last month and 13% from June. It seems that the main reason for the discontent was the disappointingly slow actions of his government since the election win. Last week the young president passed his first 100 days in office by launching an overhaul of the labour code, the idea being the changes will make France more business friendly. Tackling the 9.5% jobless rate, although at a five year low, is still double that of the UK and Germany, will be key to the reforms. Macron said that he will be giving more interviews in the coming months to explain the reforms after being accused of being too remote. However, even he believes he has his work cut out. In a recent foreign visit he acknowledged that French people ‘hated reforms’ adding ‘If they find a loophole that allows them to avoid implementing reforms, they will exploit it. The general population hates the idea of change’.

Another of Macron’s proposals was for a common Eurozone budget and a single finance minister for the 19 countries that use the euro. These ideas were not mentioned yesterday in the only televised debate between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Social Democrat challenger Martin Schulz on Sunday evening. The debate is being seen as Schulz last chance of saving his election campaign. One of the subjects the pair did clash on was migration, with Schulz criticizing Merkel’s decision to allow more than one million refugees to enter Germany in 2015. Although Schulz believed the initial decision to take the refugees was the correct one, he thinks not involving other European countries was a mistake. Merkel acknowledged that the situation ‘will never happen like that again’.

And not to be left out of the headlines, the UK’s bumbling Brexit negotiations continue with reports that the UK Prime Minister Theresa May has secretly agreed to pay as much as GBP 50bn to leave the EU and help begin trade talks. Under the plan, the UK would pay GBP 17bn a year for three years after Brexit. Like clockwork we then see UK Brexit Secretary David Davis tell the BBC that such a deal is ‘Nonsense, The story is completely wrong’ Davis went on to say that the EU is trying to ‘play time against money’ after the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that the UK is refusing to acknowledge its financial obligations and was looking for a deal that was impossible. As it stands at the moment, it seems that the EU are holding all the cards and the longer it takes the more likely it is the UK will leave the EU without any sort of trade deal.