It was a term that was taboo, frowned upon, or even outcast. Today, it has the wind in its sails. Protectionism is indeed one of the great winners of the last european elections, which took place on Sunday in France. This economic principle is established in the political programmes of many of the candidates at this election, which saw the fall of the left and the traditional right. During this campaign, each had its own way of invoking it, left to divert and pervert the meaning. Environmentalists, for example, voted to introduce a "green protectionism", The Republicans defended them, "a protectionism intelligent", when France Insubordinate, she advocated a "protectionist" solidarity.
" READ ALSO - Protectionism: what are the countries that protect the most?
of course, the politicians have not failed to place the term in question, an adjective, to overcome the traditionally negative protectionism in France and in the EU, as stressed by Frédéric Says on France Culture. But the result is there: the notion once vilified, is now widespread and increasingly present in the public debate. "The political parties have understood that the popular classes have a fear of globalization and are made to feel victims. If you want to seduce a greater extent than the middle and upper classes, it is essential to talk about protection. Everyone practice this demagoguery. This is more or less marked depending on the parties. There are probably less demagoguery on the side of the national Gathering that takes this idea since quite a long time", explained to the Figaro Christophe Bouillaud, professor of political science at the Institute of political studies of Grenoble.
"The only ones who are the idiots of the global village what are the Europeans"
Who would have bet, a few years ago, that protectionism would become almost "trendy"? I must admit: very few people. One of the few rhetoric to the contrary, a certain Arnaud Montebourg. "The Americans protect themselves, the Chinese protect themselves, the Canadians protect themselves, the Brazilians protect themselves, the Argentines protect themselves, the only ones that are the idiots of the global village what are the Europeans", launched it in 2012, addressing the "emerging countries shamelessly". A statement made well before the advent of Donald Trump and his protectionism assumed. At the time, wanted to defend the national economy from foreign competition - by imposing, for example, of customs barriers - there was little good image. Far from it. And want to protect themselves against the consequences of globalization was just as bad. It still is, but to a lesser extent.
" READ ALSO - These foreign powers covet jewels european
Because in the meantime the lines were changed and the positions were relaxed. Yesterday, Nicolas Sarkozy considered protectionism as a "very bad thing". François Hollande as the "worst responses". Today the situation has changed somewhat: the head of the list PS-Public Square, Raphaël Glucksmann defends a "protectionism at the borders of the european Union". France Insubordinate wants more taxing products that come from far away. As for the RN, it wants to establish a "fair trade" instead of free trade, in other words not to accept imports of products that do not comply with european standards.
"really plays on words"
But the words have a weight and the idea of protectionism still seems to be difficult to wear for some. It is necessary to assume it, but not too much... the president of the Republic is surely the best example of this paradox. In 2017, then a presidential candidate, Emmanuel Macron was the champion of a "Europe that protects" and that "dare to defend its interests and its values in the world". But, at the same time, he did not hesitate to declare that "protectionism, it is war, it is a lie, this is the fallback". A double discourse that responds to a certain logic, according to Christophe Bouillaud: "It is necessary to cast a wide net in order not to condemn to speak only to the liberals. It is the demagogy election that requires it."
" READ ALSO: France can protect its strategic sectors?
In the same vein, for the european elections, LREM does not appear the word protectionism in its program. The party has preferred the expression, more conventional and less engaging,"business ethics". A system to deny access to any company "not respecting the social and environmental requirements fundamental". "We still afraid to name and legitimize the term 'protectionism'. Moreover, we use the term of ‘protection’ that of ‘protectionism’, which seems more neutral. The 'isms' reveals an ideology that tends to be rejected," says Christophe Bouillaud, before concluding: "it really plays on words".Updated Date: 01 June 2019, 00:00