by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The French would like to boost economic growth, but not if that means giving up the policies that slow growth. At least that’s one way to interpret a Bloomberg Businessweek article detailing the challenges facing economy minister Emmanuel Macron.
Faced with a looming defeat in regional elections, France’s Socialists are turning on one of their own.
That’s what Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron is finding out as he casually drops suggestions on how to kick-start French growth after three years of stagnation. Having orchestrated tax cuts for business, kept more stores open on Sundays and helped make labor laws more flexible, the former Rothschild banker last month suggested dropping France’s 35-hour work-week law and now wants to end the job-for-life guarantee given to French civil servants.
Such ideas appeal to business leaders and even the wider public. To many in President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party, Macron is waving a red-flag to a bull. Their thinking — not unlike the backers of British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn– is that their movement should be tacking left, not right, to win more votes.
“He’s arrogant,” Martine Aubry, the Mayor of Lille and former minister who wrote the 35-hour workweek into law said. Macron is “ignorant of what people face day-to-day,” she said, adding that she is “fed up” with him.
Some Socialist lawmakers even want Macron fired before French voters elect new regional assemblies in December. Hollande’s party is set to lose the majority control of France’s regions it currently holds.