Social-liberal Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen of the nationalist party National Front are going through to the second round of the French presidential elections. Véronique van Wee is account manager with Javadoplant and she is French. She is relieved that there’s a good chance that Macron will be the winner. Although she feels it’s all the same for the plant and flower trade anyway. “I don’t think the election results will have any influence on the industry.”
What did you think of the French elections?
“I did follow them of course. Not too closely, but still. I thought it was very chaotic. The candidates were all fighting with each other. They were really trying to tear each other down, just to win more votes. I felt that the candidates behaved like a bunch of toddlers. In this regard, they were all very childish. I didn’t like the way that the people who want to be our president, presented themselves. They were only thinking of themselves. Whether the attacks in the EU, or the fear for them, influenced these elections in any way, I don’t know.”
Was there a lot of attention for the presidential elections in France?
“I spent three days in France shortly before Easter and I noticed during my stay that the elections were very much present in France. The fact that there were a lot of new candidates from a wide range of different parties, made it all very chaotic. And of course, with Le Pen in the race, everybody anticipated a fair bit of bullying. Obviously, there are plenty of people who would disagree with me.”
Are you relieved about things so far?
“Yes, I’m pretty relieved. Le Pen just did a lot of fighting and Fillon lost popularity because of the scandal with his wife. I’m pretty sure that Macron will win and that France will remain in the European Union, which is very important. And if Macron wins, the entire French population wins. His party is the only one that might get everybody aligned. That’s never easy in France. The French tend to discuss everything endlessly. A Frenchman will never say ‘no’ straightaway, but he’ll never agree immediately either. Very different from the Netherlands. It would be nice if the French could all unite as one people and if everyone would cooperate.”
If Le Pen were to be elected, would that be bad for the plant and flower trade?
“I don’t see any real danger for us. There aren’t too many good houseplant growers in France. The main countries in the floricultural industry are the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Germany. The Netherlands is a very important country for France. “I think that everyone in the branch can relax; the outcome of the presidential elections really won’t have any impact on the plant and flower industry.”
Javado has a lot of business in France. How is it going?
“Things are going well. France is definitely a very important distribution country for us. We lost a few large customers, but despite that, our business in France is still increasing. This year’s growth is 15%. We’re very pleased with that. The cold spring weather shouldn’t last too long though, as that might influence the trade. People also speculate that sales go down during election periods. But we haven’t noticed t