Don’t Read Too Much into Macron’s Falling Popularity

French president Emmanuel Macron waits for the arrival of a guest outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, July 6
French president Emmanuel Macron waits for the arrival of a guest outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, July 6 (World Bank/Ibrahim Ajaja)

There is a bit of schadenfraude on the far left and the right about French president Emmanuel Macron’s approval rating, which has sunk from 64 to 54 percent in one month. See, Marxists and conservatives howl, the Little Napoleon is already disappointing the French.

They’re probably getting ahead of themselves.

The Guardian reports:

Disapproval is strongest among certain demographics — civil servants, pensioners and supporters of the Mouvement démocrate party.

Which is hardly surprising when Macron intends to fire tens of thousands of bureaucrats, has proposed to bring public-sector pensions in line with those in the private sector and lost three ministers of the Democratic Movement to a spending scandal. Read more

Europe Rises to the Challenge Posed by Trump

Paolo Gentiloni, Mariano Rajoy, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, the leaders of Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, deliver a joint news conference in Berlin, June 29
Paolo Gentiloni, Mariano Rajoy, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, the leaders of Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, deliver a joint news conference in Berlin, June 29 (La Moncloa)

I argued here last month that Donald Trump was inadvertently breathing new life into the EU — whose demise he has publicly wished for — by driving France and Germany closer together.

Now Politico reports that Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have agreed to:

  • Jointly develop a new generation of fighter jets;
  • Push ahead, together with Italy and Spain, to procure a European alternative to American drones (a “Eurodrone”);
  • Cooperate on military space surveillance; and
  • Beam data to the EU’s European External Action Service for use in missions around the world.

At a joint news conference, Merkel also left the door open to creating a eurozone finance minister and harmonizing French and German tax rates.

“It’s complicated, but it could boost the internal market,” she said. Read more

Accusations of “Imperial” Macron Are Over the Top

French president Emmanuel Macron gives a news conference in Brussels, June 23
French president Emmanuel Macron gives a news conference in Brussels, June 23 (Facebook)

Emmanuel Macron has come under criticism for creating an “imperial” or “Jupiterian” presidency in France.

A speech in Versailles today, in which he is due to brief lawmakers on his agenda, is the latest example.

The French don’t have a “state of union” tradition. Macron’s predecessor, François Hollande, only assembled a joint session of parliament once and that was after the 2015 terrorist attacks.

The setting — the palace of Sun King Louis XIV — lends credence to the accusations against Macron, but this is unfair. Joint sessions of parliament always gather in Versailles, simply because neither the National Assembly nor the Senate can seat so many lawmakers. Read more

Macron Makes Start with Labor Reform in France

Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen is greeted by French president Emmanuel Macron outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, June 9
Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen is greeted by French president Emmanuel Macron outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, June 9 (Facebook)

French president Emmanuel Macron has unveiled his first labor reforms:

  • Capping the damages judges can award to employees who have been wrongfully terminated.
  • Merging workers’ councils in companies.
  • Enabling employers to go around workers’ councils — which are often dominated by trade unions — and call company-wide referendums on sensitive topics, like overtime.
  • Allowing multinationals to lay off workers at loss-making French subsidiaries even if the foreign-based parent company is profitable.

“The idea is to loosen the rules while also ensuring safeguards for employees,” Muriel Pénicaud, the labor minister, said. Read more

Chemical Weapons in Syria Would Cross “Red Line”: Macron

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Emmanuel Macron of France speak outside the Palace of Versailles, May 29
Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Emmanuel Macron of France speak outside the Palace of Versailles, May 29 (Elysée)

France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, has warned that his country could strike unilaterally if more poison gas is used in the Syrian conflict.

“If chemical weapons are used on the ground and we know how to find out their provenance, France will launch strikes to destroy the chemical weapons stocks,” he told European newspapers this week. Read more

Losing Ministers May Be Blessing in Disguise for Macron

French president Emmanuel Macron meets with his prime minister, Édouard Philippe, at the Elysée Palace in Paris, May 17
French president Emmanuel Macron meets with his prime minister, Édouard Philippe, at the Elysée Palace in Paris, May 17 (Facebook)

It all seemed to be going so well. In May, Emmanuel Macron won a convincing mandate from French voters, beating the National Front’s Marine Le Pen with 66 to 34 percent support. This month, his presidential party, La République En Marche, won 350 out of 577 seats in the National Assembly, one of the biggest landslides in French political history.

Now in the space of one week, Macron has lost four of his ministers. All have stepped down to face allegations of impropriety. Read more

After Landslide, Macron’s Challenge Lies in Forgotten France

French president Emmanuel Macron greets Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, France, June 16
French president Emmanuel Macron greets Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, France, June 16 (La Moncloa)

French president Emmanuel Macron has won a comfortable majority for his centrist party, La République En Marche, but low turnout points to the difficult task ahead: convincing the less prosperous half of France to give him a chance. Read more