Mot du président - Juillet 2022

"Many have considered the results of the French legislative elections a disaster, leaving France ungovernable and making new elections inevitable.

But is this really the case? Could one not look at these results as an opportunity to reform political decision-making in France and make it effective and acceptable for the voters.

Let's take Denmark as an example. Here the voters have lived under minority governments for decades with rather good results. Thus in 1980 Denmark had a GNP per capita of ($13,883)  9% higher than France ($12,713). Whilst, in 2020 the Danish GNP per capita ($60,908) was 57% higher than that of France ($38,625). This difference is largely the result of a transparent political decision-making process, where all important decisions are the result of often lengthy negotiated compromises between the different parties in the Danish parliament. Negotiations where most, often all, political parties are invited to participate.

Whilst several parties often may leave the negotiations along the way, it has become the rule rather than the exception to conclude negotiations by committing broad compromises, including both the right- and left-wing parties. Thus on Friday 24th June, 5 parties from the right- and left-wing reached a compromise on climate policy (including a CO2 tax) in the Danish parliament, and  6 parties from both the right and left reached a compromise on a policy to support the population’s purchasing power on the same day. Both results of lengthy negotiations where each party presents its views and the ministerial officials calculate the consequences of the many alternative possibilities. The basic rules are that everyone's position must be respected, that everyone must be able to identify with the final compromised outcome, and that it is only after the compromise is reached, that the legislation is drafted.

This method allows the voters to see that their representatives have an influence on the decision-making process. It reduces the power of the administration causing the apparatus of the ministries to be at the service of the politicians - rather than the creators of the law, as is currently often the case. In other words, this presents a much more political approach, which unites rather than divides.

There seems to be no reason why this same method should not be applicable in the new National Assembly. However, it demands that the elected representatives realize that it is infinitely more constructive and satisfying, for both the politicians and France, to seize this opportunity provided by the electoral result. To find common solutions, rather than continuing to cling desperately on to the entirety of their own programs and reject any alternative proposal."

Anders Torbøl
The Danish-French Chamber of Commerce

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