I was thrilled to open up the paper over the weekend to learn that Nicolas Sarkozy was elected the next President of France. While some call him a conservative (and by French politics, he probably is) Sarkozy is an economic moderate who believes to some degree in free trade -- the extent to which is open to debate -- and greater economic freedoms for businesses in his Republic. The International Herald Tribune notes in an article summarizing the election results that Sarkozy "plans to relax the 35-hour workweek, create more flexible work contracts and reduce the personal tax burden from 60 percent to 50 percent. As one of his first measures, he plans to establish minimum publish service in times of strike, a move designed to limit the power of transport unions to hamper other reforms."
I view Sarkozy's victory as exciting on many levels. First, the fact that France elected an immigrant -- and someone of Jewish decent -- is a landmark event given the anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant views quietly exposed by the leading French political establishment over the past century. Second, Sarkozy has a chance to bring back entrepreneurship to France -- and make the country that much easier to do business with as an outsider -- through economic reforms. And third, Sarkozy's victory is a statement that even though many Europeans and the French especially are not enamored of the US and Western capitalist democracies -- especially the current US administration -- they've had it with socialism.
Stay tuned for further analysis and coverage of Sarkozy's victory on Spend Matters in the coming weeks. Among other areas, I'll plan to dig into the procurement and global trade implications of his victory -- for both French companies and multinationals.