French PM Edouard Philippe wins overwhelming majority in Parliament
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has won an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly. He won the confidence vote by 370-67.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe overwhelmingly won the confidence vote in the National Assembly on 4 July 2017.
Philippe won the vote in France's lower house of parliament by a huge margin, 370-67. He not only had the backing of President Emmanuel Macron's party that has a wide majority after a landslide victory last month but he also got votes from centrist allies and some even from the conservative lawmakers.
France’s financial crisis
Speaking on France’s financial crisis, Philippe said that the country’s debts had reached an unbearable level, putting it at the mercy of financial markets.
"The truth is that while our German neighbors raise 100 euros in taxes and spend 98, we are raising 117 euros and are spending 125. Who can think this situation is sustainable?" he questioned.
The country’s national audit office reported last week that France's budget deficit could reach 3.2 percent above the EU limit for the 10th consecutive year in 2017 if no measures are taken.
To resolve the same, Philippe pledged to bring the country's budget deficit under the European Union limit of 3 percent this year without raising taxes.
He further pledged to stop increasing the number of state employees and to make the government focus on its main priorities and to stop spending money on policies that don't deliver results.
Policy & Agenda
• Philippe also detailed the government's agenda in the next months and years, from health to education and job policies.
• He notably wants to raise the price of a cigarette pack from current 7 euros ($8) to 10 euros ($11.35).
• He has also promised to push for labour reform that aims to boost job creation, as unemployment in France has been hanging around 10 percent for years.
• Besides this, the French government will soon be outlining new measures to handle Europe's migrant crisis, seeking a balance between helping refugees and controlling illegal immigration.
• The government also wants to reduce the asylum application procedure from 14 months now to 6 months and be able to deport those who are not granted asylum.
• In an effort to fight rising terrorism, the country’s military budget next year will increase spending on defence to 2 percent of GDP by 2025.
Further, Philippe said that by choosing to vote for Macron, French voters have showed that they are attached to the European Union and the euro. They want a more concrete, less fussy and more protective Europe.
Macron’s leading competitor Marine Le Pen, who lost her presidential bid to him, on the other hand, said that his economic plans would produce very tough consequences to buying power for French citizens. She also criticized the government for submitting to EU demands to lower public spending.