From deglobalisation to cutting business costs: has France's industry supremo changed his political spots?
As a contender to be the Socialist Party's presidential candidate a year ago Arnaud Montebourg railed against high-finance and publicly backed deglobalisation and protectionism. But last week the man who is now France’s industrial recovery minister showered a report calling for sharp cuts in labour costs with fulsome praise. His friends insist there is no contradiction. However some wonder whether Montebourg has undergone a political conversion since becoming a government minister. Mediapart’s Lénaïg Bredoux reports.
Almost all the candidates in the French presidential election campaign, from the Far Right to the Radical Left, are championing protectionism, a rare issue on which there is such broad agreement. But the rhetoric doesn’t impress World Trade Organisation Director-General Pascal Lamy, who dismisses the protectionist vogue as one based on false premises and serving only to divert attention from the primary issue of French competitiveness. In this wide-ranging interview with Philippe Riès, Lamy argues that protectionism is fuelled by a French malaise towards the wider world, an issue that he says requires an “anthropolitical” approach.