Emmanuel Macron
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Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron in Tallinn Digital Summit. Welcome dinner hosted by HE Donald Tusk. Handshake (36669381364) (cropped 2).jpg
President of France

14 May 2017
Édouard Philippe
François Hollande
Co-Prince of Andorra

14 May 2017
Serving with Joan Enric Vives Sicília
Antoni Martí
Representative Patrick Strzoda
François Hollande
President of La République En Marche!

6 April 2016 - 8 May 2017
Deputy Ludovic Chaker
Richard Ferrand
Position established
Catherine Barbaroux (Acting)
Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs

26 August 2014 - 30 August 2016
Manuel Valls
Arnaud Montebourg
Michel Sapin
Deputy Secretary General
of the Office of the President

15 May 2012 - 15 July 2014
Serving with Nicolas Revel
President François Hollande
Jean Castex
Laurence Boone
Personal details
Born Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron
(1977-12-21) 21 December 1977 (age 39)
Amiens, France
Political party La République En Marche! (2016-present)
Other political
affiliations
Socialist Party (2006-2009)
Independent (2009-2016)
Spouse(s) Brigitte Trogneux (m. 2007)
Parents Jean-Michel Macron
Françoise Noguès
Residence Élysée Palace, Paris
Alma mater Paris X Nanterre
Sciences Po
Signature

Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron (French: [?manl mak]; born 21 December 1977) is a French politician serving as President of France and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra since 2017.

Before entering politics, he was a senior civil servant and investment banker. Macron studied philosophy at Paris Nanterre University, completed a Master's of Public Affairs at Sciences Po, and graduated from the École nationale d'administration (ÉNA) in 2004. He worked at the Inspectorate General of Finances, and later became an investment banker at Rothschild & Cie Banque.[1]

Macron was appointed Deputy Secretary General in François Hollande's first government in May 2012, having been a member of the Socialist Party from 2006 to 2009. He was appointed Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs in 2014 under the Second Valls government, where he pushed through business-friendly reforms. He resigned in August 2016 to launch a bid in the 2017 presidential election. In November 2016, Macron declared that he would run in the election under the banner of En Marche!, a centrist political movement he founded in April 2016, and won the election on 7 May 2017.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Macron, at the age of 39, became the youngest President in the history of France.[8][9][10][11] Upon his inauguration, Macron appointed Le Havre Mayor Édouard Philippe to be Prime Minister. In the June 2017 legislative elections, Macron's party, renamed "La République En Marche!", together with its ally the Democratic Movement (MoDem), secured a comfortable majority in the National Assembly, winning 350 seats out of 577, with his party alone winning an outright majority of 308 seats.

Early life

Born in Amiens, Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron is the son of Françoise (née Noguès), a physician, and Jean-Michel Macron, professor of neurology at the University of Picardy.[12][13] The couple were divorced in 2010. Macron had two siblings, Laurent, born in 1979 and Estelle, born in 1982. Françoise and Jean-Michel's first child was born stillborn.[14] Raised in a non-religious family, he was baptized a Roman Catholic at his own request at age 12.[15]

The Macron family legacy is traced back to the village of Authie in Hauts-de-France.[16] Macron's paternal grandmother (née Robertson) was born in Bristol, United Kingdom.[] His maternal grandparents Jean and Germaine Noguès (née Arribet) are from Pyrenean town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Gascony.[17] Macron commonly visits Bagnères-de-Bigorre to visit his grandmother Germaine who he calls "Manette".[18] Macron associates his enjoyment of reading[19] and his left-ward political leanings to Germaine, who, after coming from a modest upbringing of a stationmaster father and a housekeeping mother, became a teacher then a principal, died in 2013.[20]

Macron was educated mostly at the Jesuit Lycée la Providence[21] in Amiens[22] before his parents sent him to finish his last year of school[23] at the elite Lycée Henri-IV in Paris, where he completed the high school curriculum and the undergraduate program with a "Bac S, Mention Très bien". At the same time he was nominated for the "Concours Général" (most selective national level high school competition) in French literature and received his diploma for his piano studies at Amiens Conservatory.[24] His parents sent him off to Paris due to their alarm at the bond he had formed with Brigitte Auzière, a married teacher with three children at Jésuites de la Providence, who later became his wife.[25]

In Paris, he failed to gain entry to the École Normale Supérieure twice.[26][27][28] He instead studied Philosophy at the University of Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense, obtaining a DEA degree (a master level degree, with a thesis on Machiavelli and Hegel).[21][29] Around 1999 Macron worked as an editorial assistant to Paul Ricoeur, the French Protestant philosopher who was then writing his last major work, La Mémoire, l'Histoire, l'Oubli. Macron worked mainly on the notes and bibliography.[30][31] Macron became a member of the editorial board of the magazine Esprit.[32]

Macron did not perform national service because he was pursuing his graduate studies. Born in December 1977, he belonged to the last year that was obliged to serve.[33]

Macron obtained a master's degree in public affairs at the Sciences Po, majoring in "Public Guidance and Economy" before training for a senior civil service career at the selective École nationale d'administration (ENA), training at an embassy in Nigeria[34] and in an office in Oise before graduating in 2004.[35]

Professional career

Inspector of Finances

Macron worked as an Inspector of Finances in the French Ministry of Economy after graduating from ENA in 2004.[30] Macron was mentored by Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the then-head of the IGF.[36] During his time as an Inspector of Finances, Macron gave lectures during the summer at the "prep'ENA" (special cram school for the ENA entrance examination) at IPESUP (fr), an elitist private school specialized in the preparation of the French Grandes Écoles entrance examination such as HEC or Sciences Po.[37][38][39]

In 2006, he was offered the job of managing director for Mouvement des Entreprises de France, the largest employer federation in France by Laurence Parisot but he declined.[40]

In August 2007, Macron served as deputy rapporteur for the Commission to Improve French Economic Growth headed by Jacques Attali.[22] Macron paid EUR50,000 to buy himself out of his government contract in 2008,[41] and left to work as an investment banker in a highly-paid position at Rothschild & Cie Banque.[42] In March 2010, he was appointed to the commission, by decree.[43]

Investment Banker

In September 2008, Macron left his job as an Inspector of Finances and took a position at Rothschild & Cie Banque.[44] Macron was inspired to leave the government due to the election of Nicolas Sarkozy to the presidency. He was originally offered the job by François Henrot. His first responsibility at Rothschild & Cie Banque was assisting with the acquisition of Cofidis by Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe.[45]

Macron formed a relationship with Alain Minc, a businessman on the supervisory board of Le Monde.[46] In 2010, Macron was promoted to partner with the bank after working on the recapitalization on Le Monde and the acquisition by Atos by Siemens IT Solutions and Services.[47] In the same year, Macron was appointed as managing director and put in charge of Nestlé's acquisition of one of Pfizer's largest subsidies based around baby drinks. The deal, which amounted to more than 9 billion euros, made Macron a millionaire.[48]

In February 2012, he advised businessman Philippe Tillous-Borde, the CEO of the Avril Group.[49]

Macron reported that he had earned 2 million euros between December 2010 and May 2012.[50] Official documents show that between 2009 and 2013, Macron had earned almost 3 million euros.

Political career

In his youth, Macron worked for the Citizen and Republican Movement for two years but he never applied to be a member.[51][50] Macron was an assistant for Mayor Georges Sarre of the 11th arrondissement of Paris during his time at Sciences Po.[52] Macron had been a member of the Socialist Party since he was 24 but he only renewed his subscription to the party from 2006 to 2009.[53][54][55]

Macron met François Hollande through Jean-Pierre Jouyet in 2006 and joined his staff in 2010.[54] In 2007, Macron attempted to run for a seat in the National Assembly in Picardy under the Socialist Party label in the 2007 legislative elections, however his application was declined.[56] Macron was offered the chance to be the Deputy Chief of Staff to Prime Minister François Fillon in 2010 though he declined.[57]

Deputy Secretary-General of the Élysée

On May 15, 2012, Macron became the Deputy Secretary General of the Élysée, a senior role in President François Hollande's staff.[58][35] Macron served with Nicholas Revels. He served under the Chief of Staff, Pierre-René Lemas.

During the summer of 2012, Macron put forward a proposal that would increase the 35 hour work week to 37 hours until 2014. He also tried to hold back the huge tax increases on the highest earners that were planned by the government. Hollande refused Macron's proposals.[59] Macron constantly opposed Nicholas Revels, the other deputy secretary general of the Élysée who he was serving with due to their difference of opinion. Revels generally worked on social policy.[60]

Macron was one of the deciding voices on not regulating the salaries of CEO's.[61]

On June 10, 2014, it was announced that Macron had resigned from his role and was replaced by Laurence Boone.[62] Reasons for his departure were that he was disappointed to not be included in the first Government of Manuel Valls and also frustrated by his lack of influence in the reforms proposed by the government.[60] This was following the appointment of Jean-Pierre Jouyet as Chief of Staff.[63]

Jouyet said that Macron left to "continue personal aspirations"[64] and create his own financial consultancy firm.[65] It was later reported that Macron was planning to create an investment firm that would attempt to fund educational projects.[51] Macron was shortly afterwards employed at the University of Berlin with the help of businessman, Alain Minc. Macron was awarded the position of research fellow. Macron had also sought a position at Harvard University.[66]

Macron was offered a chance to be a candidate in the municipal elections in 2014 in his hometown of Amiens. He declined the offer.[67] Manuel Valls attempted to appoint Macron as the Budget Minister but François Hollande rejected the idea due to Macron never being elected before.[63]

Minister of Economy and Finance

He was appointed as the Minister of Economy and Finance in the second Valls Cabinet on 26 August 2014, replacing Arnaud Montebourg.[68] He was the youngest Minister of the Economy since Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1962.[69] Macron was branded by the media as the "Anti-Montebourg" due to being pro-EU and much more moderate, while Montebourg was eurosceptic and left wing.[70] As Minister of the Economy, Macron was at the forefront of pushing through business-friendly reforms. On 17 February 2015, prime minister Manuel Valls pushed Macron's signature law package through a reluctant parliament using the special 49.3 procedure.[71]

Macron increased the French share in the company Renault from 15% to 20% and then enforced the Florange law which grants double voting rights on shares registered for more than two years unless two-thirds of shareholders vote to overturn it.[72] This gave the French state a minority share in the company though Macron later stated that the government will limit its powers within Renault.[73]

Macron was widely criticised for being unable to prevent the closing down of an Ecopla factory in Isère.[74]

In August 2015, Macron said that he was no longer a member of the Socialist Party and was an independent.[75]

Macron Law

The "Macron Law" was Macron's signature law package that was eventually pushed through parliament using the 49.3 procedure.[71]

After the "Law on Growth and Purchasing Power" brought on by Arnaud Montebourg with the aim to "restore 6 billion euros of purchasing power" to the French public.[76] Macron presented the Macron Law to a council of ministers. The law intended to rejuvenate the French economy by fixing regulations based around Sunday work, transport and driving licenses, public sector jobs and the transport market.[77] Manuel Valls, under the fear that the law wouldn't find a majority in the National Assembly, decided to push the law through with the 49.3 procedure.[78] The law was adopted on 10 April 2015.[79]

The OECD estimated that the Macron Law would generate a "0.3% increase in GDP over five-years and a 0.4% increase over 10-years"[80] Ludovic Subran, the chief economist at credit insurance company, Euler Hermes, estimated that Macron Law would give France a GDP increase of 0.5%.[81]

2017 French presidential bid

Formation of En Marche! and resignation from government

Macron first became known to the French public after his appearance on the French TV programme "Des Paroles Et Des Actes" in March 2015.[82] Before forming his political party En Marche, Macron had hosted a series of events with him speaking in public, his first one in March 2015 in Val-de-Marne.[83] Macron threatened to leave Manuel Valls' second government over the proposed reform on removing dual-nationality from terrorists, as he found it to be constitutionally wrong.[84] He also took various foreign trips, including one to Israel where he spoke on the advancement of digital technology.[85]

Tensions around the question of Macron's loyalty to the Valls government and Hollande himself were risen when Hollande and Valls turned down a proposal for a law put forward by Macron. The law, titled "Macron 2" was going to be much bigger than the original Macron law with a larger aim of making the French economy competitive.[86][87] Macron was given the chance to insert his opinion into the El Khomri law and put specific parts of "Macron 2" into the law though El Khomri could overturn these with help of other ministers.

Amid tensions and deterioration of relations with the current government, Macron founded an independent political party, En Marche!, in Amiens on 6 April 2016.[88] A liberal,[89]progressive[90][91] political movement that gathered huge media coverage when it was first established,[92] the party and Macron were both reprimanded by President Hollande and the question of Macron's loyalty to the government was risen.[93][94] Several MEPs spoke out in support for the movement[95] though the majority of the Socialist Party spoke against En Marche ! including Manuel Valls,[96]Michel Sapin,[97]Axelle Lemaire and Christian Eckert.[98]

In June 2016, support for Macron and his movement, En Marche ! began to grow in the media with L'Express, Les Echos, Le 1 and L'Opinion beginning to voice public support for Macron.[99] Following several controversies surrounding trade unionists and their protests, major newspapers began to run stories about Macron and En Marche ! on their front page with mainly positive press.[100] This was criticised hugely by the far-left in France and the far-right with the term "Macronite" being coined to describe the pro-Macron influence within the press.[101][102][103] The term has been expanded among the left-wing to also criticise the centrist leanings of most newspapers and their influence among left wing voter bases.[104][105][106]

Macron was invited to attend a festival in Orléans by mayor Olivier Carré in May 2016, the festival is organised every year to celebrate the libertation of Joan of Arc.[107]France Info and LCI reported that Macron had attached the Republican values of the Fifth Republic to Joan of Arc and then in a speech, he compared himself to Joan of Arc.[108][109] Macron later went Puy du Fou and declared he was "not a socialist" in a speech amid rumors he was going to leave the current government.[110]

On 30 August 2016, Macron resigned from the government ahead of the 2017 presidential election,[111][112] to devote himself to his En Marche ! movement.[113][114] There had been rising tensions and several reports that he wanted to leave the Valls government since early 2015.[115] Macron initially planned to leave after the cancellation of his "Macron 2" law[87] but after a meeting with President François Hollande, he decided to stay and an announcement was planned to declare that Macron was committed to the government[116] (though the announcement was pushed back due to the 2016 Nice Attack and 2016 Normandy church attack[117][118]). Michel Sapin was announced as Macron's replacement.[119] Speaking on Macron's resignation, Hollande said he had been "betrayed".[120] According to an IFOP poll, 84% of French agreed with Macron's decision to resign.[121]

First round of the 2017 presidential election

Macron first shown intention to run with the formation of En Marche ! but following his resignation from the government, Macron was able to spend more time dedicating himself to his movement. He first announced that he was considering running for President in April 2016[122] and after his resignation from the position of Economy Minister, media sources began to find patterns in Macron's fundraising and typical presidential campaign fundraising tactics.[123]

On 16 November 2016, Macron formally declared his candidacy for the French presidency after months of speculation. In his announcement speech, Macron called for a "democratic revolution" and promised to "unblock France".[124] Macron had wished that Hollande would join the race several months beforehand, saying that Hollande was the legitimate candidate for the Socialist Party.[125][126] A book was published on 24 November 2016 by Macron to support his campaign titled "Révolution", the book sold nearly 200,000 copies during its printing run and was one of the best selling books in France during 2016.[127][128][129]

Shortly after announcing his run, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis and Manuel Valls both asked Macron to run in the Socialist Party presidential primary though Macron ultimately refused.[130][131]Jean-Christophe Cambadélis began to threaten to exclude members who associated or supported Macron following Lyon mayor Gérard Collomb's declaration of support for Macron.[132]

Macron's campaign announced in December 2016 that it had raised 3.7 million euros in donations without public funding (as En Marche! wasn't a registered political party).[133] This was three times the budget of then-front runner Alain Juppé.[134] Macron came under criticism from several individuals, including Benoît Hamon who requested Macron reveal a list of his donors accusing him of conflicts of interest due to Macron's past at Rothchilds.[135] Macron replied to this, calling Hamon's behavior "demagogic."[136] It was later reported by journalists Marion L'Hour and Frédéric Says that Macron had spent EUR120,000 on setting up dinners and meetings with various personalities within the media and in French popular culture while he was minister.[137][138][139] Macron was then accused by deputies, Christian Jacob and Philippe Vigier of using this money to further the representation of En Marche! in French political life.[140][141] Michel Sapin, his successor and Minister of Economy saw nothing illegal about Macron's actions saying that Macron had the right to spend the funds.[142] Macron said in response to these allegations that it was "defamatory" and that none of the ministerial budget had been spent on his party.[138]

Macron's campaign enjoyed mass support and coverage from the media.[143][144][145][146][147] Mediapart reported that Macron had over fifty magazine covers dedicated purely to him compared to Melenchon's "handful" despite similar followings online and both having large momentum during the campaign.[148] Macron has been consistently labelled by the far-left and far-right as the "media candidate" and has been viewed as such in opinion polls.[149][149][150][151] He is friends with the owners of Le Monde[152] and Claude Perdiel the former owner of Nouvel Observateur.[153] Many observers have compared Macron's campaign to a product being sold[154] due to Maurice Lévy, a former CEO using marketing tactics to try to advance Macron's presidential ambitions.[155][156] The magazine Marianne has reported that BFMTV, whose owner is Patrick Drahi, has broadcast more coverage of Macron than all four main candidates combined,[157] Marianne has said this may be due to Macron's campaign having links with Drahi through a former colleague of Drahi, Bernard Mourad.[158][159]

After a range of comparisons to centrist, François Bayrou, Bayrou announced he wasn't going to stand in the presidential election and instead form an electoral alliance with Macron which went into effect on February 22, 2017 and has since lasted with En Marche! and the Democratic Movement becoming allies in the National Assembly.[160][161] Following this, Macron's poll ratings began to raise and after several legal issues surrounding François Fillon become publicized, Macron overtook him in the polls to become the front runner after polls shown him beating National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in the second round.[162][163]

Macron attracted criticism for the time taken to spell out a formal program during his campaign; despite declaring in November, he had still not released a complete set of proposals by February, attracting both attacks from critics and concern among allies and supporters.[164] He eventually laid out his 150-page formal program on 2 March, publishing it online and discussing it at a marathon press conference that day.[165]

Macron's supporters celebrating his victory at the Louvre on 7 May 2017

Macron accumulated a wide array of supporters, securing endorsements from François Bayrou of the Democratic Movement (MoDem), MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the ecologist candidate François de Rugy of the primary of the left, and Socialist MP Richard Ferrand, secretary-general of En Marche!, as well as numerous others - many of them from the Socialist Party, but also a significant number of centrist and centre-right politicians.[166] The Grand Mosque of Paris urged French Muslims to vote en masse for Macron.[167]

On April 23, 2017, Macron received the most votes in the first round of the presidential election, with 24% of the overall vote and more than 8 million votes all together. He progressed to the second round with Marine Le Pen. François Fillon and Benoît Hamon voiced their support for Macron.[168]

Second round of the 2017 presidential election

Macron qualified for the run-off against National Front candidate Marine Le Pen on April 23, 2017 after coming first place in the vote count. Following the announcement of his qualification, François Fillon and Benoît Hamon expressed support for Macron.[168] President François Hollande also endorsed Macron.[169] Many foreign politicians voiced support for Macron in his bid against right-wing populist candidate Marine Le Pen, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel,[170] and former US President Barack Obama.[171]

A debate was arranged between Macron and Le Pen on May 3, 2017. The debate lasted for 2 hours and Macron was considered the winner due to opinion polls.[172]

In March 2017, Macron's digital campaign manager, Mounir Mahjoubi, told Britain's Sky News that Russia is behind "high level attacks" on Macron, and said that its state media are "the first source of false information". He said: "We are accusing RT (formerly known as Russia Today) and Sputnik News (of being) the first source of false information shared about our candidate...".[173]

Two days before the French Presidential Election on 7 May, it was reported that nine gigabytes of Macron's campaign emails had been anonymously posted to Pastebin, a document-sharing site. These documents were then spread onto the imageboard 4chan which led to the hashtag "#macronleaks" trending on Twitter.[174][175] In a statement on the same evening, Macron's political movement, En Marche!, said: "The En Marche! Movement has been the victim of a massive and coordinated hack this evening which has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information".[176] Macron's campaign had been presented a report before in March 2017 by the Japanese cyber security firm Trend Micro detailing how En Marche ! had been the target of phishing attacks.[177] Trend Micro said that the group conducting these attacks were Russian hacking group Fancy Bear who were also accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee on July 22, 2016.[177] These same emails were verified and released in July 2017 by WikiLeaks.[178] This was following Le Pen accusing Macron of tax avoidance.[179]

On May 7, 2017, Macron was elected President of France with 66.1% of the vote compared to Marine Le Pen's 33.9%. The election had record absention at 25.4% and 8% of ballots being blank or spoilt.[180] Macron resigned from his role as president of En Marche![181] and Catherine Barbaroux became interim leader.[182]

President of France

Macron walking with Florence Parly, Édouard Philippe and Geneviève Darrieussecq, July 2017

Macron qualified for the runoff after the first round of the election on 23 April 2017. He won the second round of the presidential election on 7 May by a landslide according to preliminary results,[183] making the candidate of the National Front, Marine Le Pen, concede.[184] At 39, he is the youngest President in French history and the youngest French head of state since Napoleon.[10] He is also the first president of France born after the establishment of the Fifth Republic in 1958.

Macron formally became President on 14 May.[185] He appointed Patrick Strzoda as his chief of staff[186] and Ismaël Emelien as his special advisor for strategy, communication and speeches.[187] On 15 May, he appointed Édouard Philippe of the Republicans as Prime Minister.[188][189] On the same day, he made his first official foreign visit, meeting in Berlin with Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany. The two leaders emphasised the importance of France-Germany relations to the European Union.[190] They agreed to draw up a "common road map" for Europe, insisting that neither was against changes to the Treaties of the European Union.[191]

Macron attended the 2017 Brussels summit on May 25, 2017, his first NATO summit as president of France. At the summit, he met President Donald Trump for the first time. The meeting was widely publicized due to the handshake shared by the two being compared to a "power-struggle".[192][193] On 29 May 2017, Macron met with Vladimir Putin at the Palace of Versailles. The meeting sparked controversy when Macron denounced Russia Today and Sputnik accusing the news agencies of being "organs of influence and propaganda, of lying propaganda".[194][195] Macron also urged cooperation in the conflict against ISIS and warned that France would respond with conflict in Syria if chemical weapons are used.[196]

In the 2017 legislative election, Macron's party La République En Marche! and its Democratic Movement allies secured a comfortable majority, winning 350 seats out of 577.[197]

In his first few months as president, Macron has pressed for enactment of package of labor market reforms. Under Macron's proposals, 120,000 jobs would be cut from the French civil service, and French companies would gain more flexibility on working hours and pay. Macron's reform efforts have encountered resistance from some French trade unions.[198] The largest trade union, the CFDT, has taken a conciliatory approach to Macron's push and has engaged in negotiations with the president, while the more militant CGT is more hostile to reforms.[199][200] Macron's labor minister, Muriel Pénicaud, is overseeing the effort.[201] Macron aims to shift union-management relations away from the adversarial lines of the current French system and toward a more flexible, consensus-driven system modeled after Germany and Scandinavia.[199][200] He has also pledged to act against companies employing cheaper labor from eastern Europe and in return affecting jobs of French workers, what he has termed as "social dumping". Under the EU rules, eastern European workers can be employed for a limited time at the salary level in eastern European countries which has led to dispute between the EU states.[202]

Pierre de Villiers, the Chief of the Defence Staff stepped down on July 19, 2017 following a confrontation with Macron.[203] De Villiers cited the military budget cut of EUR850 million as the main reason he was stepping down. Le Monde later reported that De Villiers told a parliamentary group "I will not let myself be fucked like this"[204] Macron named François Lecointre as De Villiers replacement.[205] Meanwhile, the Senate approved a controversial bill with stricter anti-terror laws, a campaign pledge of President Macron. The bill which was scheduled for debate in the National Assembly in October, will replace state of emergency in France and will make some of its provisions permanent under law.[206]

In response to Penelopegate, the National Assembly passed a part of Macron's proposed law to stop mass corruption in French politics by July 2017, banning elected representatives from hiring family members.[207] Meanwhile, the second part of the law scrapping a constituency fund was scheduled for voting after Senate objections.[208] The National Assembly including the Senate approved allowing the government to loosen the labor laws after negotiations with unions and employers' groups.[209]

Macron's plan to give his wife an official role within government came under fire with criticisms ranging from it being undemocratic to contradicting his fight against nepotism.[210] Following an online petition of nearly 290,000 signatures on change.org Macron abandoned the plan.[211] On 9 August, the National Assembly adopted the bill on public ethics, a key theme of Macron's campaign, after debates on the scrapping the constituency funds.[212] In his first major foreign policy speech on 29 August, President Macron stated that fighting Islamist terrorism at home and abroad was France's top priority. Macron urged a tough international stance to pressure North Korea into negotiations, on the same day it fired a missile over Japan. He also affirmed his support for the Iranian nuclear deal and criticized Venezuela's government as a "dictatorship". He added that he would announce his new initiatives on the future of European Union after the German elections in September.[213]

The French government announced the proposed changes to France's labor rules ("Code du Travail"), being among the first steps taken by Macron and his government to galvanize the French economy.[214] The President signed five decrees reforming the labor rules on 22 September. The reforms which were discussed with unions, limit payouts for dismissals deemed unfair, give companies greater freedom for hiring and firing employees as well as agreeing on working conditions.[215] Macron's government presented its first budget on 27 September, whose terms reduced taxes as well as spending to bring the public deficit in line with EU's fiscal rules.[216] The budget replaced the wealth tax with a levy targeting real estate, fulfilling Macron's campaign pledge to scrap the wealth tax.[217] The wealth tax before it was replaced, involved a yearly percentage levy (of up to 1.5%) on the wealth of residents whose global worth exceeds EUR1.3m.[218] Government figures that came out in October 2017 revealed that during attempts to reform the labor code, the unemployment rate had dropped 1.8%, the biggest since 2001.[219]

After The Republicans emerged as the winners of the Senate elections, government spokesman Christophe Castaner stated the elections were a "failure" for his party.[220]

The lower house of the parliament voted on 3 October to pass the anti-terror law with 415 voting in favor and 127 voting against, with 19 abstentions. Interior Minister Gérard Collomb described France in as being "still in a state of war" ahead of the vote, with the October 1 Marseille stabbing occurring two days before the vote. The bill was criticized by human rights advocates. A Figaro public poll showed 57% of the respondents approved it even though 62% thought it would encroach on personal freedoms.[221] The Senate passed the law by a 244-22 margin on 18 October. Macron on the same day stated that 13 terror plots had been foiled since 2017 began. It gives authorities expanded power to search homes, restrict movement and close places of worship,[222] search areas around train stations as well as international ports and airports. It was passed after modifications to address concerns about civil liberties. The most punitive measures will be reviewed annually and are scheduled to lapse by the end of 2020.[223] The bill was signed into law by him on 30 October. He announced that it will allow to end the state of emergency from 1 November.[224]

Popularity

Aggregated "political barometers" of approval, excluding "no opinion"
Historical approval compared to previous presidents

According to the IFOP poll for the JDD, Macron started his five-year term with a 62 per cent approval rating.[225][226] This was higher than François Hollande's popularity at the start of his first term (61 per cent) but lower than Sarkozy's (65 per cent).[227]

An IFOP poll on 24 June 2017 said that 64 per cent of French people were pleased with Macron's performance.[228] In the IFOP poll on 23 July 2017, Macron suffered a 10 percent point drop in popularity, the largest for any President since Jacques Chirac in 1995.[229] 54 per cent of French people approved of Macron's performance[230] a 24 percentage point drop in three months.[231] The main contributors to this drop in popularity are his recent confrontations with former Chief of Defence Staff Pierre De Villiers,[232] the nationalization of the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard, owned by the bankrupt STX Offshore & Shipbuilding[233] and the reduction in housing benefit.[234] In August 2017, the IFOP polls stated that 40 per cent approved and 57 per cent disapproved of his performance.[235]

By the end of September 2017, seven out of ten respondents said that they believe Emmanuel Macron was respecting his campaign promises,[236][237] though a majority felt that the policies the government was putting forward were "unfair."[238]

Political positions

Macron (sitting far left) and French President François Hollande at the G-20 summit in Mexico, 19 June 2012

Macron has been described by some observers as a social liberal[239][240][241][242][243] and by others as a social democrat.[244][245][246] During his time in the French Socialist Party, he supported the party's centrist wing,[247] whose political stance has been associated with "third way" policies advanced by Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Gerhard Schröder, and whose leading spokesman has been former prime minister Manuel Valls.[248][249][250][251] Overall Macron is largely seen as a centrist.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Macron has called himself a socialist in the past,[252] though has labelled himself as a centrist liberal since August 2015 and refused observations that he is an "ultra-liberal" economically by some critics.[253][254][255][256] During a visit to Vendee in August 2016, he said he wasn't a socialist and that he just served in a "left wing government."[257] He has called himself both left wing and liberal in his book Révolution.[258] Macron has since been labeled a libertarian with a socially liberal viewpoint.[259][260]

He created the centrist political party, En Marche! with the attempt to create a party that can cross bipartisan lines,[261] speaking on why he formed En Marche!, he said there is a real divide in France between "conservatives and progressives"[262] His political platform during the 2017 French Presidential Election contained stances from both the right wing and the left wing[263] which led to him being positioned as a "radical centrist" by Le Figaro.[264] Macron has rejected the term "centrist"[265] though political scientist Luc Rouban has compared his platform to former centrist president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing who is the only person (other than Macron) to be elected on a centrist platform.[266]

Macron has been compared to former President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing due to the two's ability to win a presidential election on a centrist platform and for their similar governing styles. Both were inspectors of finance, was given responsibilities based around tax and revenune, both were very ambitious about running for the position of President, showing their keenness early in their careers and both were seen as figures of renewal in French political life.[267][268][269][270][271][272] d'Estaing even said himself in 2016 that he was "a little like Macron."[273] Observers have noted that while they are alike ideologically, d'Estaing had minsterial experience and time in Parliament to show for his political life while Macron had never been elected before.[274]

Economy

Macron has notably advocated in favour of the free market and reducing the public-finances deficit.[275] He first publicly used the term "liberal" to describe himself in a 2015 interview with Le Monde. He added that he is "neither right nor left" and that he advocates "a collective solidarity".[276][277] During a visit to the Puy du Fou in Vendée with Philippe de Villiers in August 2016, he stated, "Honesty compels me to say that I am not a socialist."[278] He explained that he was part of the "left government" because he wanted "to serve the public interest" as any minister would.[279] In his book Révolution, published in November 2016, Macron presents himself as both a "leftist" and a "liberal ... if by liberalism one means trust in man."[280]

With his party En Marche!, Macron's stated aim is to transcend the left-right divide in a manner similar to François Bayrou or Jacques Chaban-Delmas, asserting that "the real divide in our country ... is between progressives and conservatives". With the launch of his independent candidacy and his use of anti-establishment rhetoric, Macron has been labelled a "populist" by some observers, notably Manuel Valls, but Macron rejects this term.[281][282]

Macron is a supporter of the El Khomri law. He became the most vocal proponent of the economic overhaul of the country.[283] Macron has stated that he wants to go further than the El Khomri law when reforming the Labor code.[284]

Macron is in favor of cutting taxes and during the 2017 Presidential Election, Macron proposed cutting corporate tax from 33.3% to 25%. Macron also wants to remove investment income from wealth tax so that it is solely a tax on high-value property.[285] Macron also wants to exempt 18 million households from local residence tax, branding the tax as "unfair" during his 2017 presidential campaign.[286][287][288]

Macron is against raising tax on the highest earners. When asked about François Hollande's proposal to raise income tax on the upper class to 75%, Macron compared the policy to the Cuban taxation system.[289] Macron does support stopping tax avoidance.[290]

Macron has advocated for the end of the 35 hour work week[291][292] but his view has changed overtime with Macron seeking reforms that will allow France to keep the 35 hour work week while being competitive.[293] He has said that he wants to return flexibility to companies without ending the 35 work week.[294] This would include companies renegotiating work hours and overtime payments with an employee.

Macron has supported cutting the amount of civil servants by 120,000.[295] Macron also supports spending cuts, saying he would cut 60 billion euros in public spending over the space of five years.[296]

He has supported the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union and criticized the Walloon government for trying to block it.[297] He believes that CETA should not require the endorsement of national parliaments because "it undermines the EU".[298] Macron supports the idea of giving the Eurozone its own common budget.[299][300][296]

Regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Macron stated in June 2016 that "the conditions [to sign the treaty] are not met", adding that "we mustn't close the door entirely" and "need a strong link with the US".[301]

In April 2017, Macron called for a "rebalancing" of Germany's trade surplus, saying that "Germany benefits from the imbalances within the euro zone and achieves very high trade surpluses".[302]

Foreign policy

The family photo of the G7 leaders, 26 May 2017
Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump in Paris on Bastille Day, July 2017

Macron described France's colonization of Algeria as a "crime against humanity".[303] He also said: "It's truly barbarous and it's part of a past that we need to confront by apologising to those against whom we committed these acts."[304] Polls following his remarks reflected a decrease in his support.[303]

Macron described the 2011 military intervention in Libya as a "historic error".[305]

Macron was in 2012 a Young Leader with the French-American Foundation.[306]

In January 2017 he said France needed a more "balanced" policy toward Syria, including talks with Bashar Assad.[307] In April 2017, following the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Macron proposed possible military intervention against Assad regime, preferably under United Nations auspices.[308] He has warned if the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons during his presidency he will act unilaterally to punish it.[305]

He supports the continuation of President Hollande's policies on Israel, also opposes the BDS movement, and has refused to state a position on recognition of the State of Palestine.[309]

He criticized the Franco-Swiss construction firm LafargeHolcim for competing to build the wall on the Mexico-United States border promised by President Donald Trump.[310]

Macron has called for a peaceful solution during the 2017 North Korea crisis[311] though he agreed to work with Donald Trump against North Korea.[312] Macron and president Donald Trump apparently conducted a phone call on 12 August 2017 where they discussed confronting North Korea, denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and enforcing new sanctions.[313]

European Union

Macron with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, during the G7 summit in Taormina, on 26 May 2017

An article in the New York Times described Emmanuel Macron as "ardently pro-Europe" and stated that he "has proudly embraced an unpopular European Union."[314]

Macron was described by some as Europhile[315][316] and federalist[317][318] but he describes himself as "neither pro-European, eurosceptic nor a federalist in the classical sense",[319] and his party as "the only pro-European political force in France".[320]

In June 2015, Macron and his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel published a platform advocating a continuation of European integration. They advocate the continuation "of structural reforms (such as labor markets), institutional reforms (including the area of economic governance)",[321] but also a reconciliation of 'tax and social systems (like better co-ordination or harmonization of the corporate taxes via, for example, minimum wages)".[]

He also advocates the creation of a post of the EU Commissioner that would be responsible for the Eurozone and Eurozone's Parliament and a common budget.[322]

In addition, Macron stated: "I'm in favor of strengthening anti-dumping measures which have to be faster and more powerful like those in the United States. We also need to establish a monitoring of foreign investments in strategic sectors at the EU level in order to protect a vital industry and to ensure our sovereignty and the European superiority."[276]

Macron also stated that, if elected, he would seek to renegotiate the Treaty of Le Touquet with the United Kingdom which has caused a build-up of asylum-seekers in Calais. When Macron served as Economy Minister he had suggested the Treaty could be scrapped if the UK left the European Union.[323]

On 1 May, Macron said the EU needs to reform or face Frexit.[324] On 26 September, he unveiled his proposals for the EU, intending to deepen the bloc politically and harmonise its rules. He argued for institutional changes, initiatives to promote EU, along with new ventures in the technology, defence and energy sectors. His proposals also included setting up a rapid reaction force working along with national armies while establishing a finance minister, budget and parliament for the Eurozone. He also called for a new tax on technology giants, an EU-wide asylum agency to deal with the refugee crisis, and changes to the Common Agricultural Policy.[325]

Following the declaration of independence by Catalonia, Macron joined the EU in supporting Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy.[326]

Greece

In July 2015, as Economy Minister, Emmanuel Macron insisted in an interview that any Greece bailout package must also ease their burden by including reductions in the country's overall debt.[327] In July 2015, while challenging the "loaded question" of the 2015 Greek referendum, Macron called not to cause "automatic ejection" of Greece from the Eurozone and "not doing the Versailles Treaty of eurozone" in which case "no" side won. He believed that the Greek and European leaders co-produced the Greek government-debt crisis,[328] and that the agreement reached in summer 2015 between Greece and its creditors, notably driven by François Hollande, will not help Greece in dealing with the debt, while at the same time criticizing the International Monetary Fund.[329]

In June 2016, he criticized the austerity policies imposed on Greece, considering them to be unsustainable and calling for the joint establishment of "fiscal and financial solidarity mechanisms" and a mechanism for restructuring the debt of Eurozone member states.[329]Yanis Varoufakis, Minister of Finance in the First Cabinet of Alexis Tsipras, praised Macron, calling him "the only French Minister in the François Hollande's administration that seemed to understand what was at stake in the eurozone" and who, according to him, "tried to play the intermediary between us [Greece] and the troika of our creditors EC, IMF, ECB even if they don't allow him to play the role".[330]

Eastern Europe
Macron with Russian President Vladimir Putin, 29 May 2017

President Macron supports NATO and its role in the security of eastern European states, while also pressuring NATO partners like Poland to uphold human rights. He said in April 2017 that "in the three months after I'm elected, there will be a decision on Poland. You cannot have a European Union which argues over every single decimal place on the issue of budgets with each country, and which, when you have an EU member which acts like Poland or Hungary on issues linked to universities and learning, or refugees, or fundamental values, decides to do nothing."[331] Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said in response that Macron "violated European standards and the principles of friendship with Poland".[332]

During a press conference with Vladimir Putin at the Palace of Versailles in May 2017, he condemned the Russian state media as "lying propaganda."[333] At the same month, he said that "we all know who Le Pen's allies are. The regimes of Orbán, Kaczy?ski, Putin. These aren't the regimes with an open and free democracy. Every day they break many democratic freedoms."[334]

Macron said that the European Commission needs to do more to stop the influx of low-paid temporary workers from Central and Eastern Europe into France.[335]

Immigration

Unlike many French Socialists, including former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Macron supports the open-door policy toward migrants from the Middle East and Africa pursued by Angela Merkel in Germany[336] and promotes tolerance towards immigrants and Muslims.[314] Macron has expressed confidence in France's ability to absorb more immigrants and welcomes their arrival into Europe, asserting that the influx will have a positive economic impact.[337]

However, he believes that Frontex (the European Border and Coast Guard Agency) is "not a sufficiently ambitious program" and has called for more investment in coast and border guards, "because anyone who enters [Europe] at Lampedusa or elsewhere is a concern for all European countries".[298] Regarding asylum policy, he believes "the ... period of review should be considerably shortened" and that "all those whose claims fail must be deported immediately."[]

Security and terrorism

Macron believes that the proposed reform bill on deprivation of citizenship for French-born and naturalized citizens convicted on terrorism charges was not a "concrete solution" and believes that "the endless prolongation of the state of emergency raises legitimate questions". He advocates an increase in state funding of intelligence agencies.[338]

Macron calls for a restoration of community policing and considers that "the management of some major risks must be delegated to the associations' or the private sector".[339]

He considers that his proposal to provide each young adult a "Culture Pass" of EUR500 may encourage young people to discover the culture of France and deter terrorism.[340]

Macron has endorsed proposals to make it mandatory for internet companies to allow the government to access encrypted communications from customers.[341]

Environment

Macron with US Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Al Gore at the US Ambassador's Residence in Paris, 7 December 2015 amid the COP21 Climate Summit.

Ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Macron called for acceleration of the ecological transition and advocated a "balance between ecological imperatives and economic requirements", an objective that the French government seeks to achieve by fighting on "five fronts": "innovation", "simplification", "strengthening of our energy efficiency and [...] reduction of fossil fuels usage", "energy competitiveness" and "action in Europe and worldwide".[342]

During the summer of 2016, he defended the use of diesel fuel for which he believes there shouldn't be a "hunt" since it "remains at the heart of the French industrial policy". Macron expressed this opinion in the aftermath of the Volkswagen emissions scandal. He was then part of a Socialist Party-backed government; prominent members from that party, including Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, criticized that position.[343][344][345] In addition, Macron is in favor of using nuclear energy which he considers "a French choice and a choice for the future".[346]

In 2016, Macron proposed that France "secures its supplies in the most strategic materials using three levers: the circular economy and the recovery of materials contained in the end of life of the products [...]; The diversification of supplies to overcome geopolitical risks [...] and to bring more competitiveness; the creation of new reasonable sized mines in France, while following the best social and environmental standards".[347]

Although he is sceptical about the construction of the Aéroport du Grand Ouest, Macron believes that the construction should start since the people backed the project on the 2016 local referendum.[348]

He criticised Donald Trump for pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord on 2 June 2017 also calling for scientists to come to France in order to work together on climate change.[349]

Secularism

Macron supports the principle of secularism (laïcité). He also said that "we have a duty to let everybody practice their religion with dignity".[350] In July 2016, at the first meeting of En Marche!, Macron expressed opposition to banning Muslim headscarves in universities, stating, "Personally, I do not believe we should be inventing new texts, new laws, new standards, in order to hunt down veils at universities and go after people who wear religious symbols during field trips."[351]

In an interview with the French news magazine Marianne, Macron asserted that "secularism is not designed to promote a republican religion", and responded to comments by Manuel Valls and Jean-Pierre Chevènement regarding the practice of Islam in French society by condemning the notion that citizens should be "discreet" in their religious practice, stating that "historical precedents when we asked for discretion in matters of religion did not bring honor to the Republic."[352]

In the same interview, Macron said of French Muslims, "I ask one thing: absolutely respect the rules while in public. Religious relationships are about transcendence, and I am not asking people to be moderate - that's not what I'm arguing. My own deep conviction is that a practising Catholic may believe that the laws of his religion go far beyond the laws of the Republic. I simply believe that when one enters the public realm, the laws of the Republic must prevail over religious law." He also condemned "religious schools that teach hatred towards the Republic, with instruction mainly in Arabic or, in other instances, which teach the Torah more than basic fundamentals."[352] This statement triggered an intense negative reaction from the Fonds social juif unifié (FSJU), an organization that runs Jewish religious schools in France.[353]

Regarding support for Macron from religious groups, Jean-Dominique Durand--an expert on the history of contemporary Christianity and a deputy mayor of Lyon--said to the Washington Post: "What we have now is silence from the bishops. Protestants, Muslims, Jews have all mobilized for Macron. Not the Catholics, not in any clear way."

Healthcare

Macron supports stopping what he calls the "compartmentalisation of Healthcare" by allowing private practitioners into public hospitals.[354] Macron also supports investing money in medical science to develop new technology and find better ways to treat patients.[355]

Macron advocates for national health insurance covering optics, hearing and dentalcare.[356] According to Les Echos, extending national health insurance coverage to optics, hearing and dentalcare would cost EUR4.4 billion a year.[357]

Education

Macron supports giving more autonomy to schools and universities.[358][359] Macron wants to create a programme that forces schools to pay experienced teachers higher salaries and give them more educational freedom.[358]

Macron wants to combat the issue of income inequality in schools by attempting to improve working class schools and providing incentives to more well-off children as a way to persuade them into attending working class schools.[358]

Macron wants to make vocational education a priority. He has referred to Germany's system as one that his government would follow when putting forward measures relating to vocational education.[360]

Responsibility for the Holocaust

In July 2017, while at a ceremony at the site of the Vélodrome d'Hiver where 13,000 Jews had been rounded up for deportation to death camps in July 1942, Macron denounced his country's role in the Holocaust and the historical revisionism that denied France's responsibility for the 1942 Vel' d'Hiv Roundup and the eventual deportation of 76,000 Jews. Earlier that year, Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front, had insisted in speeches that the government during WWII "was not France".[361][362]

"It was indeed France that organised this [roundup]", Macron said, French police collaborating with the Nazis. "Not a single German took part," he added. Previous President Jacques Chirac had already stated that the Government during the War represented the French State.[363] Macron was even more specific in this respect. "It is convenient to see the Vichy regime as born of nothingness, returned to nothingness. Yes, it's convenient, but it is false. We cannot build pride upon a lie."[364][365]

Macron made a subtle reference to Chirac's 1995 apology when he added, "I say it again here. It was indeed France that organized the roundup, the deportation, and thus, for almost all, death."[366][367]

On Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism

In his speech condemning the historical collaboration of France with the Nazis, Macron also termed anti-Zionism as a new form of anti-Semitism. While addressing Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, Macron stated that, "We will never surrender to the messages of hate; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism."[368] He also drew parallels between anti-Semitism in the past and present. He stated, "You only need to stop for a moment," adding, "to see, behind the new facade, the racism of old, the entrenched vein of anti-Semitism."[369]

Controversies

Emmanuel Macron has been involved in a series of controversies since starting his political career despite his tight communication strategy and attempts to keep media from interacting with him.[370] On 30 June 2017, Macron announced that he wouldn't be speaking during Bastile Day, breaking a long-standing tradition. Le Monde later reported that Macron's reason for not appearing was that his thinking was "too complex" for journalists.[371] This was following a journalist with the French television show Quotidien being told by Macron that he would be speaking on Bastile Day.[372] The reception in the media to these remarks were widely negative with BuzzFeed France posting an article titled "Ten sentences by Macron that are too complex for you, sorry you morons"[373] and the Marianne magazine releasing a headline titled "We no understand President Macron."[374] A poll published shortly afterwards showed that 74 per cent of those questioned approved of Macron's handling of the media.[375]

Officials in the Macron administration later confirmed that Macron was not appearing as he needed time to prepare as he was speaking to both houses of parliament the following week.[372]

Just before Macron's visit to French Guiana on 27 October 2017, riots erupted over social deprivation, neglect of healthcare and lack of welfare in the overseas territory.[376] Further riots broke out after Macron ruled out sending additional aid to the territory, stating "I am not Father Christmas."[377]

Allegations of favoritism

On 23 March 2017, the Paris Prosecution opened a new preliminary investigation following suspicions of favoritism after Macron appeared as a high-profile speaker at an event organized by Havas in January 2016. Macron, who was the Minister of Economy and Finance at the time assisted with organizing the event worth EUR381,759 according to Le Canard enchaîné.[378] The event was confirmed to have been organized by the economy ministry without issuing a public tender, violating French law citing that all public contacts above EUR25,000 must be under public tender.[379] The economy ministry also refused to allow any other companies to organize the event. Several officials in Macron's economy ministry were former Havas employees.[380]

Muriel Pénicaud, who was the director of Business France at the time which was providing funds to organize the event was later made Minister of Labour.

Havas and Business France headquarters were raided by anti-corruption police on 20 June 2017.[381]

Comments about Africans

While Macron was speaking at the 2017 G20 Hamburg summit, Macron was asked by a reporter from Côte d'Ivoire if there was a possibility of a policy comparable to the Marshall Plan being implemented in Africa. Macron replied saying "The problems Africa face today are completely different and are 'civilisational'" and then went on to talk about African women having "seven or eight children per woman".[382] The remark was received negatively on social media with people accusing Macron of racism and perpetuating stereotypes.[383]NPR noted using World Bank statistics that Macron was wrong and African women had 5.4 children on average.[384] However, many publications including the Scientific American, The Guardian and The Economist have previously identified a high birthrate as one of the biggest issues currently facing Africa.[385][386][387]

Economic policies

The proposed labor reforms by Macron's government were criticized by the CGT trade union though the more moderate unions were cautious and welcomed some of the provisions.[214] In early September 2017 while on a visit to Greece, he stated: "I am fully determined and I won't cede any ground, not to slackers, nor cynics, nor hardliners." His opponents criticised him as an out-of-touch president who put himself above the ordinary person. Philippe Martinez, leader of CGT, called his comments "scandalous". Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of La France Insoumise party, called for protests, tweeting, "Fools, cynics, slackers, everyone take to the streets on Sept. 12 and 23."[388] Macron clarified that he was referring to the previous politicians who were unable to enact changes as "slackers". The term however was used as a rallying cry by demonstrators in protests against the proposed labor reforms on 12 September.[389]

EU's Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici welcomed the 2018 budget of the French government. Head of France's National Assembly's finance commission, Éric Woerth, stated it fell short of what the economy could handle amidst its strong growth.[216] He was criticised as the budget reduced taxes for the upper class and reduced public spending. Centre-left newspaper Libération called him a "hero to the rich".[390] The replacement of the wealth tax with a levy on property was used by his opponents to brand him "president of the rich".[217]

Macron's government proposed amendments to the budget with proposal of tax on luxury yachts, supercars and precious metals after critics attacked his move to scarp the wealth tax.[391] Macron justified the change in the wealth tax, stating he wanted the wealthy French who migrated due to the tax system, to return and invest in business.[392] Former President François Hollande stated that the cut in wealth tax risked favouring the rich "while they sleep" over the poor.[393]

Comments

In an interview in 2014 as the economy minister, he justified reducing cost of a driving license by citing the case of a Brittany abattoir by saying, "This company has a majority of women employees and many of them are illiterate," adding that it was impossible to ask them to get jobs 30 or 40 miles away as they did not have driving licences and could not afford them unless the fees was cut. He was ridiculed as an example of "Socialist hypocrisy" for his remarks.[394]

While on a visit to a training center in the Creuse department, a group of workers from the GM&S car plant who risked losing their jobs were protesting outside and got involved into altercations with riot police. When a local Socialist official told Macron that another local factory was having problems hiring workers, he responded by saying, "There are some who, rather than wreaking fucking havoc, would be better off seeking a job there because some of them have the right qualifications."[395]

Opposition parties attacked Macron for his remarks, calling it "arrogance" and "contempt" from someone born with a "silver spoon in his mouth". His remark was compared to Norman Tebbit's remark in 1981, telling unemployed Britons to "get on their bike" and "find a job". His spokesman Christophe Castaner defended his comments saying,"I think one can be cultured and speak like the French working class," adding that he was right to "use words we all use in everyday life". He also lambasted "militant unionists" at GM&S for scaring off investors, comparing them to Whirlpool factory workers who had quickly found a new owner and had been visited by Macron earlier.[395]

Co-Prince of Andorra

As President of France, Macron also serves ex officio as one of the two Co-Princes of Andorra. His chief of staff Patrick Strzoda serves as his representative in this capacity.

Personal life

Brigitte Macron in 2017

Macron is married to Brigitte Trogneux,[396] 24 years his senior,[397] who was his teacher in La Providence High School in Amiens.[398][399] They first met when he was a 15-year-old student and she was a 39-year-old teacher, but only became a couple once he was 18.[400][401]

His parents initially attempted to separate the couple by sending him away to Paris to finish the final year of his schooling, as they felt his youth made this relationship inappropriate.[23][401] However, the couple reunited after Macron graduated, and were married in 2007.[401]

His best man was Henry Hermand (1924-2016), a businessman who loaned EUR550,000 to Macron for the purchase of his first apartment in Paris when he was Inspector of Finances. Hermand also let Macron use some of his offices on the Avenue des Champs Élysées in Paris for his movement En Marche!.[402][403]

Macron identifies as a Roman Catholic.[404]

Macron is a supporter of Olympique de Marseille.[405] He is also a pianist,[406] having studied piano for ten years in his youth, and especially enjoys the work of Schumann and Liszt.[407][408] Macron also skiis,[409] plays tennis[410] and enjoys boxing.[411]

In addition to his native French, Macron also speaks English.[412][413]

In the 2002 French presidential election, Macron voted for souverainist, Jean-Pierre Chevènement.[414] In 2007, Macron voted for Ségolène Royal in the second round of the presidential election.[415] During the Socialist Party primary in 2011, Macron voiced his support for François Hollande.[416]

In August 2017, a photojournalist was arrested and detained by the police for six hours after he entered the private residence where Macron was vacationing in Marseille.[417] Macron subsequently filed a complaint for "harassment."[417] In September 2017, he dropped the complaint "as a gesture of appeasement."[418]

On 27 August 2017, President Macron and his wife Brigitte adopted Nemo, a black Labrador Retriever-Griffon dog who lives with them in the Élysée Palace.[419]

Honours and decorations

National honours

Ribbon bar Honour Date & Comment
Legion Honneur GC ribbon.svg Grand Master & Grand Cross of the National Order of the Legion of Honour 14 May 2017 - automatic upon taking presidential office
National Order of Merit Grand Cross Ribbon.png Grand Master & Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit 14 May 2017 - automatic upon taking presidential office

Foreign honours

Ribbon bar Country Honour Date
GRE Order Redeemer 1Class.png Greece Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer 7 September 2017[420]
Order of the British Empire (Civil) Ribbon.png United Kingdom Commander of the Order of the British Empire 2014[421]

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  416. ^ Fulda, Anne (2012-12-13). "Emmanuel Macron : Le cerveau droit de Hollande". Le Figaro (in French). ISSN 0182-5852. Retrieved . 
  417. ^ a b "Emmanuel Macron porte plainte pour "harcèlement"". Valeurs actuelles. August 15, 2017. Retrieved 2017. 
  418. ^ "Macron retire sa plainte contre un photographe". L'Expansion. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 2017. 
  419. ^ Quinault Maupoil, Tristan (28 August 2017). "Un nouveau chien à l'Elysée : Nemo, adopté par les Macron à la SPA". Le Figaro. Retrieved 2017. 
  420. ^ http://www.metronews.ca/news/world/2017/09/07/tight-security-in-athens-for-visit-of-france-s-macron.html
  421. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/509625/2014_Honorary_Awards_-_Final_-_a.pdf

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Arnaud Montebourg
Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs
2014-2016
Succeeded by
Michel Sapin
Preceded by
François Hollande
President of France
2017-present
Incumbent
Party political offices
New political party President of En Marche
2016-2017
Succeeded by
Catherine Barbaroux
Acting
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
François Hollande
Honorary Canon of the Papal Basilicas of St. John Lateran and St. Peter
2017-present
Incumbent
Regnal titles
Preceded by
François Hollande
Co-Prince of Andorra
2017-present
Served alongside: Joan Enric Vives Sicília
Incumbent
Order of precedence
First Order of Precedence of France
as President

2017-present
Succeeded by
Édouard Philippe
as Prime Minister

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Emmanuel_Macron
 



 

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