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Posts Tagged ‘Macron’

Emmanuel Macron’s deepening problems

Posted by hkarner - 21. Oktober 2018

Date: 18-10-2018
Source: The Economist

They are more of style than substance, but still matter

For a politician with a passion for theatre, Emmanuel Macron has a poor mastery of suspense. On October 2nd he lost his interior minister, Gérard Collomb, who had complained about the French president’s “lack of humility”. It took him two weeks to find a replacement, and the longer the wait went on, the more it fuelled conjecture. Was the president too enfeebled to attract good candidates? Was his young party’s talent pool that shallow? Might even the prime minister, Edouard Philippe, be having second thoughts? On October 16th, when Mr Macron finally unveiled his new team, it was a mix of unknowns and loyalists that scarcely made a splash.

If Mr Macron was hoping to reboot his presidency with a headline-grabbing line-up, this was not it. The solid but discreet Mr Philippe remains in his job, as does Bruno Le Maire, the finance minister. Into the interior ministry steps Christophe Castaner, the outgoing head of La République en Marche (lrem), the party Mr Macron founded just two years ago. A former Socialist, he brings political balance to a government led by an ex-Republican, Mr Philippe. A one-time mayor from south-east France, who never attended elite Parisian schools, the burly Mr Castaner is also a useful counterpoint to Mr Macron, a former investment banker and graduate of the high-flying Ecole Nationale d’Administration. No specialist in security, Mr Castaner is backed by a new junior minister, Laurent Nuñez, the outgoing head of the domestic intelligence service. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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France’s Macron, Celebrated Abroad, Faces Isolation at Home

Posted by hkarner - 10. Oktober 2018

Date: 09-10-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Support has tumbled amid chronically high unemployment and a slowing economy

Emmanuel Macron’s approval ratings have tumbled to as low as 29% in September from 50% at the start of the year.

PARIS—The presidency of Emmanuel Macron has reached a tipping point.

Viewed from abroad, the 40-year-old former investment banker is a poster boy for international cooperation, widely applauded for speeches like his recent United Nations address denouncing protectionism and nationalism.

At home, however, Mr. Macron is increasingly isolated. His cabinet is heading for a shuffle, after two prominent ministers, including one of his earliest allies, abruptly resigned from government. The French economy, growing at a rate 1.6% this year, has fallen behind the rest of Europe. And the labor market overhaul Mr. Macron decreed a year ago has done little to lower France’s chronically high unemployment.

That malaise represents an acute threat to Mr. Macron’s signature cause—deeper European Union integration as an answer to growing nativist movements across the blocbecause the French leader himself has argued that France can only lead the EU if it shines as a model to other member states. It also undercuts the ethos of free markets and trade that Mr. Macron has come to represent in France and beyond. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Macron urges EU leaders to stand firm against Theresa May

Posted by hkarner - 21. September 2018

Date: 20-09-2018
Source: The Guardian

French president says EU should resist prime minister’s calls for compromise on Brexit

Emmanuel Macron in Salzburg said blocking any attempt by the UK to pick and choose EU membership had to be the priority.

Emmanuel Macron has appealed to his fellow European leaders to maintain their tough approach to Brexit in response to Theresa May’s demand for compromise and accusations that the French president wants to make Britain suffer.

Macron, who is fighting a rearguard action against the rise of populism in Europe, said blocking any attempt by the UK to pick and choose elements of EU membership had to be the priority in the dying days of the Brexit negotiations.

“May spoke last night,” Macron said of the UK prime minister’s presentation to the leaders in Salzburg. “My first wish is to stay united and to have a common approach, the 27. It is essential. The second thing is that we remain coherent. The solution must be found. The third thing is that we need to have a real retirement agreement by November.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot Quits, Exposing Tensions in Macron’s Coalition

Posted by hkarner - 30. August 2018

Date: 29-08-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

The departure exposes fractures in France’s governing coalition

Nicolas Hulot, center, announced his resignation during a live radio interview before telling President Emmanuel Macron, right.

PARIS—A key figure on the left of Emmanuel Macron’s governing coalition quit as environment minister Tuesday, exposing a rare fracture in the alliance and undercutting the French president’s efforts to calm leftist supporters restive over his pro-business agenda.

Nicolas Hulot, a hero of the left, environmental campaigner and former TV host, delivered a broadside to the Macron government by announcing his resignation during a live radio interview. Mr. Hulot said he hadn’t yet spoken with the president about his resignation, though he has been publicly flirting with the idea for months.

“I don’t want to lie to myself anymore,” Mr. Hulot said. “So I’m deciding to leave the government.”

Benjamin Griveaux, the government’s spokesman, said Mr. Hulot’s work as a minister had been “useful for the country,” but disapproved of how he handled the resignation. “I think the most basic courtesy would have been to warn the president and prime minister,” Mr. Griveaux said. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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‘Revolution Française’ Review: The March of Macron

Posted by hkarner - 14. August 2018

Date: 13-08-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

In the span of one year, Macron created his own political party, took out his rivals on the left and the right, and became president of France. Philip Delves Broughton reviews “Revolution Française” by Sophie Pedder.

French President Emmanuel Macron at Versailles.

The presidency of France’s Fifth Republic was tailored for Charles de Gaulle. Subsequent presidents have tried to alter it to their own personalities, with varying degrees of success—the jacket billows out, the pants sag around the knees. But when Emmanuel Macron burst from political obscurity and into office in 2017, he seemed to throw out de Gaulle’s old threads and replace them with his own slim-cut navy suit, the uniform of France’s young professional class.

In the span of one astonishing year, from 2016 to 2017, Mr. Macron created his own political party, La République en Marche, and took out his rivals on the left and the right. He out-campaigned and raised more money than the stagnant major parties. He canvassed voters door to door, a technique that may be standard in many countries but is an act of scandalous populism in France. And he used digital databases to identify potential voters, something Paris’s political barons considered too outrageously modern. On the night of his election, Mr. Macron was 39 years old. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Macron and the Piranhas

Posted by hkarner - 29. Juli 2018

Bernard-Henri Lévy is one of the founders of the “Nouveaux Philosophes” (New Philosophers) movement. His books include Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism, American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville, and most recently, The Genius of Judaism.

Ever since Alexandre Benalla, a now-former security aide to French President Emmanuel Macron, was caught on video beating up demonstrators on May 1, France’s populists have been leading a political feeding frenzy. By focusing on Benalla, they hope to bring down another of Europe’s few remaining liberal leaders.

PARIS – The faults of Alexandre Benalla, a former top security aide to French President Emmanuel Macron who was caught on video beating up a demonstrator on May 1, are inexcusable. And it is well understood that Macron committed several errors of judgment by trusting for too long a young, inexperienced, showy bruiser who imagined himself to be a cop or a hooligan. Credit is owed to the journalists who compelled the Elysée Palace to end two and a half months of culpable silence and cut ties with Benalla.1

But beyond this scandal lies a more chilling sequence of events. Paralyzed by Macron’s steady drumbeat of important reforms, his opponents found in the Benalla scandal, at long last, a good fight to fight. But no one should revel in the fact that it was far-right leader Marine Le Pen and far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélénchon who led the attacks on Macron for his silence about his thuggish aide. There was something deeply hypocritical in the spectacle of these old warhorses, who rely so often on their own redneck guerrillas, defending the police against the “militias.”1 Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Macron’s Reformist Victory

Posted by hkarner - 25. Juli 2018

Date: 24-07-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Sophie Pedder

And What It Says About the Future of Unions in France

When French trade unionists strike, the public pays attention. Industrial actions in Paris are traditionally accompanied by manifs, or demonstrations—theatrical, festive events that often involve beating drums, flares, and barbecued meat. Tales of stranded commuters and packed train stations fill the airwaves, and the world’s media turns its gaze, fleetingly, to the French streets.

But few foreign observers are still watching by the time a strike fizzles out. On April 3, the unions at the French national railway, the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF), initiated a series of strikes, and the public lost interest even more quickly than usual. What is most newsworthy about these strikes, however, is not why they began, but why they ended. French President Emmanuel Macron has refused to bend to long-standing taboos in French culture against defying the SNCF’s unions, as indicated by his insistence on reforming the railways. Unions will remain a powerful force in French politics for a long time to come, but Macron’s recent win against the railway workers suggests that the days of their unchecked power to block reforms may be drawing to a close.

TRADITION DERAILED Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Jupiter humbled: Emmanuel Macron’s popularity hits a new low

Posted by hkarner - 15. Juli 2018

Date: 14-07-2018
Source: The Economist

Despite his many achievements, he felt obliged to sound humble this week

A YEAR ago, as a young freshly elected president eager to look the part, Emmanuel Macron summoned a joint sitting of both houses of parliament in the former royal palace at Versailles, and spoke loftily of grandeur and destiny. On July 9th, for his second speech to Congress, it was a more humble head of state who stepped into the chamber. “I know that I can’t do everything,” he declared, “I know that I won’t succeed in everything.” The setting was unchanged, but the tone was markedly different. A chastened president, it seems, is trying to recover his touch.

In a stiflingly hot chamber, as parliamentarians fanned their moist faces, Mr Macron sent two broad messages. First, that the president, so often accused of arrogance, is in fact listening. He spoke of voters’ anger and fear, of those who feel they are “ignored, held in contempt”, and struggle to make ends meet. Results, he warned, could take time to come through. But he would keep trying. Jupiter, in other words, may still be sitting on the republican throne, but he is not deaf to his critics, nor the concerns of ordinary folk.

His second message had less to do with style than philosophy. Mr Macron’s detractors accuse him of lacking ideology, or political clarity. He campaigned as neither on the left nor right, and invented a centrist party, which dominates the National Assembly, from nothing. Some one-time supporters on the left consider that the decisions taken in his first year—cuts to corporate and wealth taxes, a focus on curbing the budget deficit to below 3%, an increase in social charges on pensions—prove that the former Socialist minister has turned into a right-winger and “president of the rich”. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Macron’s Next Good Fight

Posted by hkarner - 23. Juni 2018

Date: 22-06-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Now he’s moving to shift France’s attitude to welfare and work.

For his next magic act, Emmanuel Macron wants to reform France’s creaking social-welfare programs. The French President last week released a Twitter video and delivered a speech launching a debate over social spending, and this will be his biggest reform fight to date—and also the most perilous.

Specific proposals for changes aren’t due until next month at the earliest. But the outline is likely to consist of more money for health-related spending, but significantly less for income supports and housing subsidies.

France is overdue for change. Social spending eats up around one-third of annual economic output, the highest proportion among countries in the OECD. And for what? “We put a crazy amount of dough into our social benefits and poor people are still poor,” Mr. Macron told his advisers in a video clip of a meeting released on Twitter last week. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Emmanuel Macron’s Empty Victory

Posted by hkarner - 22. Juni 2018

Date: 21-06-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Simon Nixon

French president’s deal with Germany on deeper eurozone integration is far from all he had hoped for

Emmanuel Macron campaigned to become president of France by wrapping himself in a European Union flag and promising to make Europe great again. He saw off his euroskeptic rival Marine Le Pen by offering an alternative vision of a “Europe which protects,” and expanded on that vision in a two-hour speech at the Sorbonne in September that outlined his manifesto for wide-ranging EU reform.

Now after weeks of intensive negotiation—including more than 30 hours of face-to-face talks over three weekends between French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and his German counterpart Olaf Scholz —Berlin and Paris have come up with a road map for deeper eurozone integration. And it is hard to escape the conclusion that Mr. Macron has come away largely empty-handed. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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