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Week Ahead (11 April)

Monday, 11 April – Campaigning for second round of French Presidential Election to begin

Emmanuel Macron and Marine le Pen will begin campaigning for their 24 April French Presidential run-off today after Sunday's first round vote. Macron won 27.6% of the vote, with 23.4% for Le Pen. This marked an increase for both candidates on their showings in the first round of voting in the 2017 iteration of the presidential election, where Macron won 24% compared to Le Pen's 21%.

All candidates except Zemmour have called on voters to back Macron in the second round of voting, with Mélenchon, who won an impressive 22%, asking the public to avoid backing Le Pen at all costs. Speaking after the result became clear, Macron described the debate between his centre party and the far-right as being crucial for France and for the future of Europe. He has pledged to campaign hard between now and 24 April, and to that end will visit Denain in northern France, one of the country's poorest cities and a left-wing stronghold, today. Le Pen will also begin campaigning, focusing on the airwaves rather than action on the ground in the early stages.

Tuesday, 12 April – European Committee of the Regions to hold online stakeholders meeting on Chips Act

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) will hold an online event on Tuesday to discuss stakeholder reaction to the European Commission’s proposed Chips Act, announced in February. The proposal is aimed at increasing European sovereignty in the manufacturing and use of semiconductors.  Essential elements in the manufacturing of many electronic products on which the modern economy is built, there is currently a global shortage of the components due to overwhelming demand and supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic as factories manufacturing the chips closed. 

While still in its formative phase legislatively, the Chips Act is already having a positive effect on the European semi-conductor sector. In March, Intel revealed plans for major investments in Europe across several countries, including a €17 billion investment in two new semiconductor fabrication centres in Magdeburg, Germany, that should start construction in 2023 and be in production in 2027, a €12 billion upgrade at its manufacturing facility in Leixlip, Ireland, and a €4.5 billion investment in a new facility in Italy.

Thursday, 14 April – ECB Governing Council to meet to discuss monetary policy

The European Central Bank’s Governing Council will meet on Thursday to discuss monetary policy. ECB President, Christine Lagarde, will chair the meeting remotely and participate in the press conference following the meeting having contracted Covid-19 last week.

The meeting will be held as Europe continues to grapple with spiking inflation as a result of the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In March inflation hit 7.5% according to flash readings which exceeded forecasts. Given the most recent inflation figures, hawkish clamour for tightening of monetary policy may hold more sway at this week’s meeting. However, hawkish elements have indicated that they expect the path to normalisation to begin in earnest at the September meeting so further tightening would be a surprise if it came this week.

Thursday, 14 April - CSO release on goods exports and imports for Ireland in February

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) will publish data on Ireland’s exports and imports of goods for the month of February on Thursday. February’s data may give an early indication of the effects of the war in Ukraine on Irish trade, with a clearer picture likely to emerge when data for March is released.

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