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Can Macron Deliver?

Jonas Parello-Plesner

In a post on Carnegie Europe, Judy Dempsey posed a the question “Can Macron Deliver?” to a series of experts. Following is the response of Hudson Senior Fellow Jonas Parello-Plesner:

In short, oui. President Emmanuel Macron was elected on a promise to reform France. Macron is already tackling the big beast in the country, the basic law of the labor market. Reforming the law has been the bane of several previous presidents, from Jacques Chirac to François Hollande, bending to street protests.

Presumably, Macron will face protests after the August vacation month ends, but he is uniquely well equipped to withstand and prevail. His parliamentary base, which many predicted would be harder to establish than winning the presidency, is galvanized around a reform agenda. His personal approach includes increased consultations with labor-market partners to defuse (some) tension along the way.

But this reform is just the beginning. There are other reforms to be completed afterward, including on workforce development and apprenticeships.

If Macron delivers on internal reforms, it seems possible that he can secure German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s support for a joint big leap ahead on financial and economic integration in the EU. If France reforms, Merkel can convince the Germans, who endured with the Hartz labor-market reforms. Equally important is that France maintains budgetary discipline.

Macron is the best shot France and Europe have had for new dynamism in a long time. Let’s hope he makes it.

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