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French voters will respond to reforms in the street

Friday, September 14, 2018

Subject

Update on Macron’s reform agenda.

Significance

President Emmanuel Macron returned from the summer holidays with an approval rating of 31% in the latest opinion poll -- lower than that of former President Francois Hollande at this stage in his presidency. His control of parliament and ease with deploying executive orders should allow him to secure much of his reform agenda, but his growing unpopularity could see greater resistance to some of his changes.

Impacts

  • Macron’s worst opinion rating is with voters aged 18-24, whose unemployment rate (20%) is more than twice the national average.
  • His EU agenda is unlikely to progress, with Berlin preferring to focus on the 2020-27 EU budget rather than options for the euro-area.
  • Resistance from some EU member states over Macron’s call to tax technology companies will likely see this initiative go nowhere.
  • Macron’s efforts to woo bankers fleeing Brexit and pitch France as an Artificial Intelligence powerhouse have yet to translate into growth.
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