July 15. 2024. 7:26

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Waiting for a new French government, Brussels can breathe a bit

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The Left’s victory in the French parliamentary elections has given Brussels a brief respite, even if the road to a coalition government in France remains long and uncertain.

It was a shock when the left-wing coalition, le nouveau front populaire (NFP), came out on top of the second round of French parliamentary elections this weekend.

All the signs were that the far right would come to power in France for the first time since the Vichy regime of the 1940s. However, as in 1936, various political forces on the left united under a single banner to block the path of Rassemblement National (RN).

The results give us a French National Assembly that is more divided than ever, within which it will be extremely difficult to form a majority.

In this scenario, what will France’s political future be, and its place within the European institutions?

The victory of the left – or rather the defeat of the far right – offers relief to Brussels, at least for a while. Indeed, if the RN had won the elections and taken its seat at the prime minister’s residence at Matignon, the Council of the European Union would have seen the arrival of far-right eurosceptic ministers representing 67 million inhabitants.

In the case of a qualified majority vote, France could prevent the adoption of numerous European texts. For example the much-debated Nature Restoration Law would not have passed with a eurosceptic France in the room.

Moreover, the lack of a clear majority in the National Assembly gives Macron a free hand to nominate a (presumably pro-European) French European Commissioner, since international affairs remain the prerogative of the President of the Republic.

What policies can we expect?

The NFP has certainly come out on top, but still needs allies to adopt its programme, which is largely based on European climate and energy laws with greater ambition, particularly on social issues.

In addition, the next government will have to deliver France’s National Energy and Climate Plan as soon as possible (the deadline was 30 June).

NFP has made its participation in the government conditional on the implementation of its programme. This includes plans to reconsider several measures of French President Emmanuel Macron, such as pension reforms, the abolition of wealth tax, and the merger between the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) and the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN).

Ultimately, the future prime minister will have to win the support of the left, centre and right – in effect creating a ‘grand coalition’ as exists in the European Parliament.

If no coalition emerges, Macron may be tempted to set up a technical government based on the Italian model, to ensure France’s presence in the EU institutions and reassure its European partners.

However, this scenario could give the RN a boost, as this type of government of pro-European experts may appear to be an imposition from Brussels, amplifying the French people’s rejection of Europe.

It could be early autumn before new leaders are installed and working in the EU institutions, but negotiations to form a new French executive may even take longer.

Germany embarks on ‘radical change’ to finance renewables

A government compromise in Berlin envisions radical changes to the country’s renewables subsidy approach, alongside creating the foundation for back-up power plants to underpin the coal exit.

Industry cannot rely on negative emissions for 2039 climate target, experts say

Industry should not rely on negative emissions to compensate for the ending of new EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) allowances from 2039, experts have told Euractiv.

Commission wants to curb harmful chemicals in cosmetics but no progress on regulation

The Commission is preparing a new ban on Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or toxic for Reproduction (CMR) substances from use in Cosmetics, while the announced revision of the Cosmetics Regulation is not envisaged this year.

  • German chemicals association: Industry past its rock bottom, but export-driven model might be over – By Jonathan Packroff
  • EU wields stick and carrot to drive South-Eastern Europe energy integration – By Nikolaus J. Kurmayer
  • Von der Leyen urged to shield EU hydrogen industry, with focus on electrolyser producers – By Nikolaus J. Kurmayer
  • One day before application, German car lobby urges EU to drop tariffs against China – By Jonathan Packroff
  • Energy Community ministers meet in Bosnia and Herzegovina as EU tariffs loom – By Nikolaus J. Kurmayer
  • Hamburg group signs deal for Chinese wind turbines in German waters – By Nikolaus J. Kurmayer

SOFIA. Bulgaria pays €142 million to companies that jumped in after Gazprom cut-off. The Bulgarian government decided on Thursday to compensate natural gas traders who helped fill the state-owned Chiren gas storage facility with 278 million leva (€142 million) after the sudden cut-off of Russian gas supplies in late April 2022. Read more.

BERLIN. German pressure on EU-China trade outcomes piles up as Commission tariffs kick in. Pressure from Germany to reconsider trade tariffs on China-made electric cars is set to intensify in the coming weeks as member states start negotiating their official stance on the issue, after the Commission confirmed last Thursday (4 July) that provisional duties kick in the next day. Read more.

LISBON | MADRID | PARIS. Iberian leaders agree to negotiate energy interconnections with France. Portugal and Spain have agreed to participate jointly in meetings with France on energy interconnections, arguing that the issue is a European one and not just one between the Iberian peninsula and France, the environment ministers announced on Wednesday. Read more.

BERLIN. One day before application, German car lobby urges EU to drop tariffs against China. One day before the preliminary application of tariffs on electric cars from China, due on Thursday (4 July), Germany’s main car industry lobby VDA called on the EU to pull back on the tariffs, arguing that they will do more harm than good. Read more.

  • Buildings decarbonisation can make or break the Green Deal – By Ben McWilliams, Giovanni Sgaravatti, Simone Tagliapietra and Ugnė Keliauskaitė
  • Low-carbon hydrogen definition: Commission’s last chance to leave a hydrogen legacy – By Jochen Bard

  • 11-12 JULY. Informal meeting of environment ministers
  • 15 – 16 JULY. Informal meeting of energy ministers
  • 14 OCTOBER. Environment Council
  • 17-18 OCTOBER. European Council
  • 16 DECEMBER. Energy Council
  • 17 DECEMBER. Environment Council
  • 19-20 DECEMBER. European Council

[Edited by Donagh Cagney/Rajnish Singh]

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