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'Smokescreen' or Reality? Why Macron's Prediction on EU's Breakup May Come True

© AP Photo / Olivier MatthysFrench President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, June 22, 2017
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, June 22, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Commenting on President Emmanuel Macron's recent statement about the EU's possible disintegration without a social dumping reform, a French expert warned in an interview with Sputnik that such a prediction may come true at the end of the day.

Earlier this week, Macron said that the EU may break up if it fails to overhaul a rule allowing companies to send temporary workers from low-wage countries to richer nations without paying their local social charges.

Henri Sterdyniak is one of the authors of a manifesto, which was published back in September 2010 by a group of economists criticizing neo-liberalism. The document was all about the inflexibility of European economic policy during crises.

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The authors slammed the "organization of competition among European workers" and warned that there is a real risk that the European countries will "retreat into in themselves."

So did these predictions come true? Sterdyniak told Sputnik France that the answer to this question is certainly "yes."

"The main proof of this was Brexit. Another important aspect is the massive influx of workers from Eastern Europe, as well as the growing popularity of [the right-wing] National Front in France and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Germany," he said. 

"There are a number of factors that show that the popular masses in the developed countries of Western Europe believe that their well-being is threatened by globalization and, especially, by the construction of European architecture," Sterdyniak added.

He pointed to a "rather strange situation" when "on the one hand, Macron criticizes the very practice of sending EU workers to other EU member states, but on the other – he does not say anything about globalization and the delocalization of industries, which are of greater importance."

"The consequences of such a practice are much less dramatic than the implications of globalization and competition created by imports of goods from low-wage countries," he pointed out.

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Sterdyniak was echoed by Dany Lang, a lecturer at the University of Paris 13 and the University of Saint-Denis in Belgium.

He believes that Macron's statements about the tightening of European rule are a "smokescreen" on the eve of a reform of the French labor code.

According to Lang, Macron's goal is to try to boost his approval rating by making such statements now that "he is working out a new labor code which will severely damage social rights."

"So let's see whether any actions will follow these statements," Land said, pointing to the fact that Poland, one of the main countries sending its workers to France, is not involved in the discussion.

"I think that the European ideal has significantly surrendered its positions. The austerity policy is carried out with unprecedented ruthlessness, particularly in Greece. I do not see why and how the reform of sending workers abroad will help improve the situation," he said.

According to him, "Emmanuel Macron has no right to uphold social rights given his views and beliefs."

"There is something paradoxical about a desire to trample social rights across France while saying that you want to protect them at the level of Europe," Lang said.

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"The [French] government decrees on labor legislation will be made public in a few days. As for Macron's statements, they add to the creation of a 'smokescreen,' which aims to prevent the discussion on the French labor code," Lang concluded.

In the run-up to his visit to Bulgaria, Macron said Thursday, "Some political or business circles seek to use the EU's funds while at the same time developing a system of social and fiscal dumping."

He warned that "this will lead to the dismantling of the European Union" if the upcoming EU summit fails to clinch a reform agreement.

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