The farcical reign of French president Francois Hollande reached a bizarre nadir in early October. As the country suffered from record unemployment and striking workers threatened to set their own factories off, Hollande’s team of advisers were worried about how the president stacks up against a different type of problem: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
According to The Telegraph, the president’s staff is worried about how Hollande (5’7”) will quite literally measure up against the 6′ 2” former governor of California. Indeed, Schwarzenegger is in town in his capacity as head of the R20 environmental group, which encourages politicians and legislatures to contribute to the climate change fight.
If Hollande and his advisers are worried about ridicule, though, they need not confine it to The Terminator’s arrival. In fact, many circles have considered Hollande a laughingstock since his election in May 2012.
Christophe Mazurier, Chairman of the board of directors at CIC-CM private banking, sits firmly in the European finance sector, and is just one of many presidential dissenters. Specifically, Mazurier takes issue with Hollande’s economic policy, a topic he wrote about in a recent column for French news site Atlantico.
“The current occupant of the Elysee (Palace) pushes far beyond his predecessors little game of economic inconstancy and inconsistency,” Mazurier said. “A totally unreadable economic policy, marred by contradictory statements and promises untenable, all of which further increases the degradation of the French economy.”
Mazurier’s screed was strongly worded but the renowned financier made some valid points that the French regime would be hard-pressed to refute. Despite multiple initiatives to revive French industry, including an ambitious public-private re-industrialization plan launched a year ago, the sector still accounts for only 11% of national output, behind regional competitors like Germany, Italy, the U.K. and Spain. French companies are still shipping jobs and production overseas, and France’s unemployment rate continues to hover around 11%.
Elsewhere, Hollande’s “Socialist” election promises were more or less dead in the water. Hollande said he would tax the highest earners at a nearly 75% rate, but the middle class continues to shoulder the most burdensome taxes. To Mazurier, who describes Hollande’s various initiatives as “hypocritical”, the problem is that Hollande, like his predecessors, has been unable to find a tenable economic policy and has therefore ping-ponged between different 20th-century models, all of which are outdated.
“France must leave the ideological models of the past century,” Mazurier said. “There is no economic policy, right or left, pro or anti political finance. There are only pragmatic policies and global recipes that are working around the world.”