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France is back on track, but the French don’t see their president’s contribution

Macron and Trump in Biarritz, during G7. CR Soizig de la Moissonière

France is back as a diplomatic leader, french economy is bouncing, but French citizen won’t buy it.

He saved the European Commission by finding her president, he pushed to have a French at ECB –again, and now he wants to save the climate, the trade war between China and the US –  not mentioning that he managed to have France get back in the game to lead discussion on Iran nuclear issues. The international scene is fascinated by Macron’s new diplomatic push. But French citizen couldn’t care less: 66% of them are still unhappy with him.

At the same time, French economy is finally picking up. Unemployment has felt to a 10-years low, salaries are growing, industrial production is also growing while falling down everywhere else in the Eurozone, and consumption is back. Macron’s responsibility in this economic rebound is difficult to identify precisely. His reforms gave back purchasing power to a lot of people: households in France will earn 850 euros more in 2019 than in 2018, and half of it is due to fiscal and social policy changes. That definitely helps consumption, then production, and investment. A virtuous Keynesian circle may be at work, but it’s a bit early to know: investments levels for the whole 2019 year will be scrutinised. The whole idea of Macron’s plan was to bring trust for investors.

On the paper it seems to work, but in the street people still hate him. Gilets Jaunes – the Yellow vests – have left for holidays, then came back, ready to take the streets again in September. The movement has weakened, but other types of social unrest are ready to burst. Spending cuts in hospitals have driven a huge strike movement in emergencies centers all over the country. Unions are ready to demonstrate against the pension reform. Despite the visible hype, Macron still have to convince the French about the European institutions, about climate, about the economy: it will be a busy September

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