François Fillon, winner of the center-right Républicains’ primary Sunday—and now the presumed favorite to win next year’s presidential election—is an unabashed admirer of Margaret Thatcher who promises radical overhauls of the state.
Mr. Fillon campaigned for his party’s nomination on a platform that included a pledge to cut 500,000 public-sector jobs, slash public spending by €100 billion ($106 billion), cut corporate taxes and scrap France’s notorious 35-hour workweek. What is more, he says that if elected he will do so by September.
Meanwhile Mr. Fillon’s plans looks sure to run into resistance from Brussels. By his calculation, his proposed tax cuts would result in a deficit of 4.7% of GDP in 2017, far above the 2.7% target that Paris agreed upon with the European Commission earlier this year. Mr. Fillon argues that Brussels would allow him this fiscal flexibility to reflect his proposed structural reforms. But Brussels has already twice extended the deadline for Paris to bring its deficit below 3%. Without deep overhauls that go far beyond mere hiring and pay freezes, it is hard to see why it would do so a third time.
If Mr. Fillon is serious about transforming France, he first needs a credible plan.