Macron Can Survive France’s Anger
By James Traub
In his latest piece for Foreign Policy, Non-Resident Fellow James Traub analyzes the impact of President Emmanuel Macron's policies in the face of falling approval ratings, modest economic growth, and a stubbornly high unemployment rate.
"In short, even if Macron were to make his path a little smoother with a more human touch, there’s no getting around its thorniness. The diesel tax was just the sort of painful measure that leaders must take in order to reduce carbon consumption—but have generally avoided. Macron has called for a stronger EU at a time when most voters say they want a weaker one. Amid rising nationalism, he is an unwavering voice for multilateralism who refuses to campaign against refugees and immigration (though his subsequent policies on the subject have been notably cautious).
This is why Macron’s fate matters so much. His insistence, at the same time, on restoring French “sovereignty,” and French glory, offers a path between liberal universalism and reactionary nationalism. Indeed, in the CNN interview, Macron described his “three pillars” of increased competitiveness, investments in innovation and human capital, and a faith in sovereignty—in Frenchness—as “the best answer to nationalists.”
Emmanuel Macron is the only leader of a major Western country who is trying to do something brave, and whose fate is worth caring about. It is true that he is often his own worst enemy. One can only watch this experiment nervously and hope for the best."
Read the full article here.