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Quick Take: What France's Presidential Election Means
It is easy to read too much into election outcomes, and especially tempting in the case of France’s presidential election. Nonetheless, given the two candidates and the lopsided nature of the result, it seems clear that French voters rejected a nativist-isolationist-protectionist course for their nation in favor of an Europeanist-globalist approach that is committed to ensuring that the open economy model promotes and sustains a strong middle class.
Emmanuel Macron now has five years to prove that his approach works. It is perhaps ironic that France is cast as the leading defender of an open global economy, though – just as only Richard Nixon could have gone to China and only Bill Clinton could have reformed welfare – a French approach to globalization will almost certainly be immune to populist criticism, whether from the left or the right.
Mr. Macron’s impact on Europe may turn out to be greater due to what won’t happen while he is in office: France will not withdraw from the Euro or from NATO’s military command, and there will not be a move to pull France out of the European Union.
Still, the forces pulling the EU apart are powerful. If Mr. Macron is to have an affirmative impact on strengthening the European project, he will need to work closely with his German counterpart to ensure that the less prosperous parts of Europe see benefits.
Matthew Rooney joined the Bush Center in June 2015 following a career as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. At postings in Washington and abroad, he focused on advocating market-driven solutions to economic policy challenges in both industrialized and developing countries, and on protecting the interests of U.S. companies abroad.
In Washington, Rooney was on loan to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to create a high-level private sector advisory body for the Summits of the Americas, working closely with the U.S. private sector and with companies and business associations from throughout the Americas to negotiate an agenda to promote economic integration in the region. Previously, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary responsible for relations with Canada and Mexico and for regional economic policy. In prior Washington assignments, Rooney worked for then-Senator Fred Thompson, and supported negotiations to open global markets to U.S. airline services.
Abroad, Rooney was Consul General in Munich, a Consulate General providing a full range of Consular and export promotion services, supporting a permanent presence of 30,000 U.S. forces in two major base complexes, and carrying out a media and public relations initiative in support of U.S. diplomatic objectives in Germany. As Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador, he laid the groundwork for free trade negotiations between the United States and the five countries of Central America, and promoted market-based reforms for electrical power. Prior to this, he served in various posts in Germany, Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire.
Rooney studied Economics, German and French at the University of Texas at Austin and received his Master’s Degree in International Management at the University of Texas at Dallas.Full Bio
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