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Macron’s Struggle to Lead France
Despite an appetite for reform and a grand vision for French and European power, the French president has struggled to build a political base that could outlast him.
On April 24, 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron was handily re-elected to a second five-year term, becoming the first French president to be re-elected in twenty years. Widespread alarm over a potential electoral upset from the far right, first from newcomer Éric Zemmour and then from Marine Le Pen, whom Macron defeated in 2017, turned out to be unwarranted. Macron is, in many ways, a prototypically ideal candidate for the French presidency. He was brought up through the elite institutions which have long served as talent pools for the French bureaucracy. He worked as an investment banker at Rothschild & Co., held senior positions under President François Hollande (2012-17), and then resigned from Hollande’s cabinet to establish his own centrist political party, La République En Marche (LREM), and run for president himself. Macron approaches the presidency like a philosophical project, viewing it as a Gaullist, almost monarchic duty. He has framed himself as a reformist who wants France to reclaim its industrial sector, shed its bureaucratic dead weight, and lead the European Union (EU).
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Macron has global ambitions for France. He sees his domestic policy as the bedrock for a European “new multilateralism”1 in which strong, sovereign states can coordinate amongst themselves to solve common problems. To him, creating an investment-friendly, economically stable France is the first step toward this goal.2 Macron has not shied away from exerting France’s military and diplomatic weight abroad, most notably attempting to build a coalition against Turkey in the Mediterranean. At the same time, Macron frames the European project as one of existential civilizational importance. When elected, Macron was openly pro-Europe during a period of intense Euroscepticism, and as EU Council president, his push for “strategic sovereignty” gained new urgency as Russia invaded Ukraine. What Macron ultimately wants is a “human Europe”3 that resists autocracy, has an integrated budget, and can defend itself without reliance on the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He believes that Europe is a tool for France to prevent “the Chinese-American duopoly.”4
Macron’s superposition of support for a strong France and support for a strong Europe would initially appear contradictory, since the EU’s bureaucratic expansions logically develop towards a European super-state that quietly subsumes the legitimacy and powers of national governments. This would then result in a strong EU dominating weak European states, including eventually a weak France. But in a global geopolitical context, a strong France, uncoordinated with the rest of Europe, would not be a global power on par with the United States or China. At best, it might be comparable to Russia, as a formerly global power skillfully stalling a decline to being a merely regional one. At worst, it would be just that: a regional power. Instead, Macron correctly perceives that Europe as a whole is the only power bloc that could potentially serve as a counterbalance to the United States and China and reliably win political and economic conflicts with nearby powers like Russia and Turkey.
There are reasons to be optimistic about a strong France. The country has an active military and a highly functional defense procurement bureaucracy. France’s nuclear industry is one of the largest in the world. French elites have significant networks in the country’s former colonial sphere of influence in Africa. However, Macron faces substantial political obstacles to his ambitions within France and without. The most vaunted vision of a strategically autonomous Europe would, in effect, render NATO obsolete and represent a severe diminishment of U.S. influence in the world. Germany, the EU’s most populous country, remains more ideologically aligned with the U.S. than France in this regard. Poland and the Baltic states, afraid of Russian expansionism, would prefer more NATO presence in Europe rather than less. The Nordic states would prefer to slow roll any further transnational integration, whether European or trans-Atlantic. Domestically, Macron has struggled to sell his vision to much of the French public, especially the working classes, which opposed reforms that favored investors and eroded workers’ benefits.5 The yellow vest protest movement, which began in 2018, was the immediate result of this public dissatisfaction and the blowback has been felt in electoral proceedings since. LREM made a statement in the 2017 presidential and parliamentary elections by absorbing talent from both left- and right-wing political parties, but its coalition has weakened since then.
Despite his affectations of Gaullism, Macron does not in fact possess the power that Charles de Gaulle did in postwar France. De Gaulle came to power in 1958 not in an ordinary presidential election, but in what former French president François Mitterand called a “permanent coup d’état.” He dissolved the existing French constitution and wrote a new one that granted him strong executive and emergency powers, a radical change that was approved, moreover, by over 80% of the French electorate in a referendum. At just 44 years old, Macron is surprisingly young for a major head of state, but due to constitutional reforms from 2008, he is limited to just two terms in office as president. Needless to say, Macron is highly unlikely to consolidate enough political support to dissolve the French constitution and remain in office to pursue his vision. To achieve his goals, what Macron truly needs then is a long-term-oriented political machine that can outlast his presidency, coordinate and expand his support base, and eventually generate a capable successor. LREM expanded the center of French politics but has little political momentum beyond holding off the far right; meanwhile, coordination issues in the EU have highlighted the degree to which substantial reform is the exception, not the norm. Unless Macron can build lasting support, his vision of France will remain a philosophical exercise.
Macron’s Elite Background
Macron, as a politician, is the product of an exclusive group of institutions that feed into French bureaucracy. Macron was born to physicians in a wealthy district of Amiens, approximately 75 miles outside of Paris. His higher education took him through the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) and the École Nationale d'Administration (ENA). Both are selective grandes écoles (lit. “great schools”) considered training grounds for French leadership, with graduates fast-tracked into the political and business elite.6 Macron’s first political placement was with the Financial Ministry in 2004. He was selected to serve on an economic growth commission under economist Jacques Attali, formerly an advisor to President François Mitterrand. After four years, Macron left this position to work as an investment banker for Rothschild & Co. It is somewhat unclear why Macron opted for private sector work. However, some accounts point to an ideological reluctance to serve under President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had just been elected in 2007.7 Macron came recommended for the Rothschild position based on useful social capital from his education, despite having no experience as a banker.8
In 2010, Macron joined the staff of François Hollande, who was at the time the head of the Departmental Council of Corrèze, a local governmental body similar to a county commissioner. Hollande was already preparing a presidential campaign against Sarkozy during this period. Macron had met Hollande when he was a student and felt Hollande was prepared to lead.9 When Hollande was elected in 2012, Macron was appointed deputy secretary general of the Élysée, putting him in a senior role. But Macron left this position after two years, reportedly dissatisfied with his lack of influence. Nevertheless, within a few months, he was brought back into Hollande’s cabinet as Minister of Economy and Industry under Prime Minister Manuel Valls, where he was responsible for spearheading politically unpopular labor and economic reforms. He launched his 2016 presidential campaign from this position.
Macron’s career track is emblematic of the French establishment. The exclusive power structures of the grandes écoles gave him crucial social capital, allowing him to ascend to the presidency without having held an elected position. These institutions were always designed to play an influential role in French society. The École Nationale d'Administration was founded by Charles de Gaulle to repopulate France’s bureaucracy after the dissolution of the collaborationist World War II-era Vichy government. However, over time, the institution's strong homogenizing effect became a source of distrust for the public, which found its leaders disconnected from everyday concerns. Macron announced plans to close the École Nationale d'Administration in 2019 and officially closed it in 2021, replacing it with the new National Institute of Public Service, which launched in 2022 with a theoretically more fair recruitment model.10
Macron ran his first presidential campaign as an exercise in leveling with his constituency, trying to bridge the epistemic gap between France’s governing class and the wider population. He collected survey data from voters, had civilian volunteers coordinate his campaign, and took swipes at France’s culture of exclusivity in campaign speeches. However, despite attempts to set himself apart from his cohort, he still adhered to a liberal economic doctrine, much like his predecessors, who had led French macroeconomic reforms since the 1980s.11 The difference in Macron’s 2017 presidential run was marketing. Macron wanted to run France like a startup and drew on the concerns of a public weary of party infighting and opaque political processes. On the campaign trail, Macron demonstrated an experimental streak; his plan to cut into France’s sizable public deficit was to gradually eliminate 120,000 civil service jobs and reinvest the savings in stimulus for a beleaguered industrial sector. He was already well underway in planning the labor reforms that characterized his first term and would draw significant criticisms, but at the time, his reformism was a source of credibility; he seemed like someone who could shake up a tired political establishment.
Like de Gaulle, Macron casts himself as a pragmatic leader with a strong central government, tending slightly toward conservatism but willing to take risks to preserve French identity, exceptionalism, and sovereignty. The Gaullist sentiment espoused by Macron is by design. Macron has stated that there is a void in French democracy that needs to be filled by a kingly authority—a role once inhabited by Charles de Gaulle—or else the French political psyche will remain unsatisfied.12 Macron views the presidency as a tool for establishing an ideological narrative that can excite the people.13 This concept seemingly stems from Macron’s experiences with the French philosopher and socialist Paul Ricœur, who believed that ideology plays a positive role in society by maintaining group identity and making social reform possible.14 Macron was a close student of Ricœur as a young man, even working as a research assistant and editor to the philosopher,15 and described Ricœur’s impact on him as “life-changing,” going so far as to say it was Ricœur who convinced him to enter politics. Ricœur personally tried to avoid getting entangled in partisan politics, and was particularly interested in reconciling contradictory viewpoints in his work. According to Macron, he still reads Ricœur and tries to act according to his thoughts. There are some resemblances between Ricœur’s thoughts and Macron’s governing philosophy, though the true extent to which Macron is acting on Ricœur’s philosophy is questionable given that intellectualism is a source of both legitimacy and prestige in France.
Despite his efforts to create a motivating narrative for the public, Macron has not been able to secure positive support from the wider public instead of merely being the preferred least-bad candidate in French electoral politics. A primary concern going into the 2022 presidential election was that Macron was too remote. Additionally, his deprioritization of public rallies and presidential debates in favor of international negotiations only provided more ammunition for Marine Le Pen.16 Despite Macron’s high-mindedness regarding the role of the president as a necessary champion of the people and nation, the public has largely not cooperated with Macron’s casting of himself in this role.
A New Big-Tent Party for France
The internal fragmentation of François Hollande’s government paved the way for Macron’s presidential bid. The Socialists were rendered dysfunctional by intra-party schisms and were unable to produce a viable successor, and late in 2016, Hollande announced that he would not be seeking reelection.17 Macron clearly anticipated this. In the spring of 2016, he quietly launched his own political party, La République En Marche, after registering its web domains in 2015. LREM was billed as a progressive party, but in effect formed a broad coalition of the center-left and center-right, having absorbed ex-Socialist and ex-Republican politicians and acquiring the support of the Democratic Movement (MoDem), a center-left party.18 Of these, Macron recruited Hollande’s Commissioner-General for Policy, Jean Pisani-Ferry, as his economic advisor; the specific components of Macron’s big-picture reforms have been credited to him.
Macron assembled his first cabinet from a mix of political affiliations but clearly favored the right on economics. Only two ministers were grandfathered in from Hollande’s government, including Jean-Yves Le Drian, Hollande’s defense minister, who became foreign affairs minister under Macron and was one of only two Socialists in his cabinet. His ecology minister Barbara Pompili was a longtime member of the Green party. François Bayrou, the founder and head of the Democratic Movement, was made justice minister. In addition, Macron appointed two ex-Republicans, Bruno Le Maire and Gérald Darmanin, to head the economy and budgetary ministries, which deliberately signaled the party’s economic liberalism. These appointments from the right meant that securing a parliamentary majority against the Republican party was more likely, especially since Macron had also appointed Republican Edouard Philippe as Prime Minister. This coalition-building strategy proved successful, with LREM securing an absolute majority in France’s National Assembly in June 2017, just a month after Macron won a resounding victory in the presidential election.
Because of Macron’s large parliamentary majority, his top-down decision-making power was solidified early in his term. LREM representatives in the lower house of parliament had to pledge not to oppose the reforms handed down to them.19 However, the coalition behind Macron’s new big-tent party began to fragment almost immediately. In the September 2017 French Senate election, LREM lost nearly a third of its relatively few seats in the Senate, failing to win the support of the more conservative local elected officials who elect French Senators. In November 2017, LREM’s first party congress was marred by the walk-out and resignation of 100 attendees who denounced, among other things, the “vertical functioning and governance of elites.”20 In the 2019 European Parliament elections, LREM secured just about a fifth of French seats, behind the far-right National Rally. In the 2020 local elections, LREM performed poorly, capturing the mayoralty of just one major French city and often coming in third place, including in Paris.21 Defectors from LREM have reduced Macron’s parliamentary hold to 288 seats, down from 350 and below the 289 seats needed for an absolute majority. These defectors were from the left-wing of Macron’s centrist coalition, making the remaining parliamentary representatives skew right.22 Cédric Villani, the flamboyant French mathematician and Fields medalist who wrote a white paper on French AI strategy23 and was elected to the National Assembly on LREM’s ticket in 2017, defected and formed his own party in May 2020.
As of 2022, Macron’s presidency is defined more by his personal command. Macron has maintained some longtime allies—his chief of staff, Alexis Kohler, has been with him since the Hollande days, while Ismaël Emelien has served as a PR strategist since LREM’s founding. Macron already had to reform his government once, in 2020, after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe resigned. Philippe was replaced by Jean Castex, one of a few ministers in Macron’s new cabinet who previously worked for Sarkozy, again signaling a rightward shift in political alignment for the party. As is customary, Macron’s government is expected to resign again upon his second term, so it is unclear which of his allies will maintain influence within the party.
Macron’s initial goal for LREM was to create a “movement” that would be neither left- nor right-wing and could be joined even while remaining a member of another political party.24 Considering Macron’s views on the role of the French presidency and his forgoing of candidacy on the Socialist Party ticket, it seems that Macron wanted to create a new “party of power” or “party of the state” that would bypass partisan politics by directly institutionalizing the electorate’s support of the president. This attempt at a new big-tent party proved successful initially, as evidenced by Macron’s resounding victories in the presidential and legislative elections of 2017. But LREM has not become a “party of the state” that could be compared to the personality-driven parties of Viktor Orban’s Fidesz in Hungary, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP in Turkey, or Vladimir Putin’s United Russia. It has also failed to establish itself as a political machine comparable, perhaps more favorably, to the Social Democrats in Sweden or Germany’s CDU. Macron seems to have relied too heavily on the stature of his personal office to exert influence, as a replacement for building a new political institution that could both mobilize the masses of voters when needed and create opportunities to cement long-term alliances or provide patronage to other political and economic elites, both on a national and a local level.
Economic Reform Proves Unpopular in France
As president, Macron continued the reforms he had spearheaded under Hollande. He intended to overhaul the French economy by cutting unnecessary bureaucracy, reducing taxes for businesses, and revamping the labor code for increased flexibility around employment and benefits—trickle-down economics, but with a lean, startup-like mentality that is sometimes characterized as technocratic. In Macron’s view, the outdated procedures mandated by France’s lengthy labor code discouraged entrepreneurialism and investment. They afforded workers extreme protections, which caused the job market to stagnate and public debt to remain high. To make France more hospitable to capital, Macron streamlined firing procedures for employers, on the assumption that this would also encourage them to hire, reduced business taxes from 33.3% to 25%, decreased employers’ social security contributions, and replaced the wealth tax with a flat 30% tax on capital gains. He also increased income taxes to avoid cutting social welfare programs, which could be viewed as a critical misstep; however, Macron did not want to increase public debt or institute wealth taxes that might discourage investors.
Predictably, this did not sit well with the general public. Macron has been unsuccessful in justifying the higher tax burdens, and voters felt they were being taken advantage of. A proposed fuel tax that would have disproportionately burdened workers in rural areas served as a tipping point after years of depressed wages, income inequality, and tax increases. The yellow vest protests, which took their name from the high-visibility vests drivers must carry for emergencies, surged across France in 2018.25 In concession, Macron rolled back certain tax increases and instituted a monthly bonus of €90 for minimum wage workers. He also conducted a series of town hall debates that, despite being boycotted by yellow vest participants, seemed like a return of Macron’s 2017 campaign tactics and resulted in a small ratings boost.26 Macron’s economic reforms worked on paper: unemployment fell to 7.4% in 2021, the lowest since 2008.27 GDP growth figures increased somewhat in 2017 but fell again before collapsing in 2020 due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.28 But in a closed system, the cost will always be borne by another component. In this case, the unemployment rate dropped based on decreased job security; more companies were able to provide temporary or low-security jobs under the new termination rules.29 The theory that deregulation fuels job creation has had mixed results on long-term employment, but it does create favorable employment numbers in the short term.30
The economic and labor reform program has arguably cost Macron more politically than it gained him. Macron has gained some credibility in certain governmental contexts and with business elites both at home and abroad, but has alienated large segments of the French working public. The unpopularity of the reforms itself is not a significant obstacle; Macron famously, or infamously, allowed French police broad leeway to crack down on yellow vests protests, which led to a reduction in the size and number of demonstrations.31 But the discontent has been exploited by political elites on both Left and Right to hinder Macron’s attempts to present LREM as a unified front and himself as a champion of the French people. Far from his original decisiveness, public outcry has remade Macron’s attitude towards reform into one of trial and error: announce it, weigh the backlash, then reconfigure if needed.
This instability leaves Macron to burnish his image by other means. During the second-term presidential election, Macron voiced more conservative opinions on immigration and national security to address right-wing voters while also supporting ecological initiatives to win the left’s support.32 Macron clearly wanted to re-engage the voting bloc that drove his victory in 2017 by playing all sides to hold off a more radical opponent. However, France’s political parties are increasingly subdivided, with parties taking in smaller proportions of public support while fringe parties expand on the left and right.33 His centrist coalition didn’t combat polarization but only drove it to different extremes, and his labor policies remained critically unpopular.
But the actual political cost of Macron’s labor and economic program has been due to its lack of ambition. At best, Macron’s changes have amounted to a modest move in a pro-business and free-market direction that balances out unnecessarily onerous taxes and regulations. At worst, the program amounts to just a short-term massaging of numbers that will have no notable impact on France’s long-term economic and industrial prospects. Thus Macron would have spent precious political capital on an economic program that, even in the best case, would not substantially deliver on his vision of an economically strong France. For example, it took Macron until nearly the end of his term to announce a plan to build new nuclear reactors in a country that gets over 70% of its electricity from nuclear power.
Macron has evidently feuded with the French billionaire Vincent Bolloré and, as a result, caused Bolloré to sell off his company’s massive transportation and logistics empire in Africa to a foreign competitor. To his credit, Macron has consistently acted as a salesman for sales of high-end French weaponry to foreign countries. But Macron’s limited and personally-driven moves in areas where he could generate substantial industrial growth underscore how unambitious his signature economic program was. Macron missed an opportunity to spend his initial political capital on a far more ambitious plan—for example, a public works or infrastructure program. Such a plan could have served as a way to offer political patronage and present the public with tangible evidence of his commitment to a strong France. Instead, administrative reforms of labor and market policies are politically costly, do not provide good opportunities for building a power base, and, ultimately, are unlikely to drive economic growth significantly on their own.
Crisis Lets Macron Prioritize Europe
Macron likely sees parallels between Europe today and de Gaulle’s time. Both are situated between the two poles of the U.S. and Russia—or, increasingly, China—and de Gaulle withdrew France from NATO over objections to the U.S.’ influence. De Gaulle also stated that an unconquerable Europe would allow France to again become “first in the world,” in what could nearly serve as a Macronite mission statement. Both the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine provided Macron with grounds to reevaluate his presidency and revisit policy proposals that were previously unfeasible.
Macron’s government was forced to dip further into public debt to weather the pandemic. Still, the results were fairly positive: €463 billion was paid out in assistance to citizens and businesses, and France’s economy bounced back faster than comparable economies such as Germany.34 A smaller aspect of France’s pandemic recovery, but more important from a political coordination standpoint, is its participation in NextGenerationEU. This joint €750 billion recovery package is funded by the EU taking on debt. France is receiving €39.4 billion in NextGenerationEU grants from the European Commission, the majority of which will be spent on infrastructure to revitalize industry.35 It is a distinct break from austerity and creates the groundwork for cohesive public works across Europe while potentially aiding economic recovery in the short term. While structural funds like this are not particularly new, it is the first time that the EU will directly issue mutual debt to stabilize the economy. It is a step forward in European financial and political unification.
This step toward unification in the EU works well for Macron, who has kept an eye on the EU throughout his first term and assumed the EU Council presidency in January of 2022. Macron directly links French sovereignty to European sovereignty. He isn’t opposed to state-level sovereignty, but he views globalization as a force in contradiction to it, with citizens pulled between conflicting ideological responsibilities. He references an example of a worker who wants a local industrial base and low prices on imported items. Macron views upper-level coordination between EU states as a way to balance these two poles.36
Early in his presidency, Macron delivered a speech at the Sorbonne that first injected the concept of strategic European sovereignty into public discourse, with dense plans for an integrated defense budget, a network of universities, climate initiatives, and equal pay laws, among other provisions. He also stated that France might be forced to exit the EU without reform. In 2019, Macron expressed concerns that NATO was experiencing “brain death” due to U.S. unilateralism under Trump and that Europe would need to protect itself without U.S. aid. This statement quickly turned on Macron; even then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced it, and a tepid France-Germany alliance could potentially undermine EU cohesion.37 But Macron stuck to it; a Europe that could willingly collaborate with NATO but was not subordinate to it was much stronger than Europe as it was. He also considered creating a rapid response force for EU states’ borders in the event of a migrant surge.This concept seems like an attempt both to outsource the most partisan aspects of his presidential campaign to be the EU’s responsibility and a strong motion of support for European statehood. Using Brexit as a justification, Macron’s government reportedly pushed to drop English as a working language in the EU and instead increase the exclusive use of the French language, even proposing French language classes for elected officials in Brussels.38 Macron wants to take a civilizational stand for Europe and use it as a rationale for domestic policy.
With war ongoing between Russia and Ukraine, Macron’s vision for European autonomy has been condensed into a greater push for coordinated military spending and decreasing reliance on Russian energy.39 Macron has also stepped into the role of a wartime leader despite being on the periphery of the conflict, jumping at the chance to serve as an interlocutor between Europe and Putin even if he did not secure any tangible outcomes. He sees negotiation with Russia as a duty of European diplomacy and wants to keep lines of communication open via the EU and NATO and via less common formats like the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Normandy contact group. Macron has undertaken similar outreach efforts with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, China’s Xi Jinping, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and former U.S. President Donald Trump. Similarly, there was not much to show for it; in China’s case, Macron was afforded a mostly symbolic France-China statement of cooperation.40 In the case of the U.S., he failed to keep Trump on board with the Paris Climate Accords and the Iranian nuclear deal. Still, these were worthy undertakings, as isolating a potential adversary would likely increase tensions. Moreover, they allowed Macron to show that France is equal to other world powers and takes an active role in global diplomacy. Macron wants constructive dialogue instead of dogmatically shunning Russia but also wants to fortify the EU against threats.
Macron can use the bureaucratic machinery of the EU to ease France’s budgetary woes. The amount issued to France by NextGenerationEU is approximately 1.56% of France’s total public debt as of 2021.41 By having debt be taken on mutually by the EU, Macron can at least buy time to staunch the mounting public debt domestically. But the far more ambitious possibility is to use the EU to turn Europe as a whole into an independent power bloc, something that the U.S. quietly opposes, as it prefers to keep Europe militarily weak and dependent on NATO for defense.42 The fundamental interests of the U.S. do not perfectly align with those of France or Europe and often directly conflict. The lack of alignment between the U.S. and France has recently become noticeable. In 2021, the U.S. pressured Australia to abandon a €34 billion nuclear submarine deal with France.43 During the Libyan Civil War, France backed the Libyan general Khalifa Haftar against the U.S.-backed Government of National Accord.44 According to Macron himself, in reference to what is now termed “le wokisme” in French, “certain social science theories imported from the United States” threaten to tear apart France’s social fabric.45 The misalignment between U.S. and European interests has become more evident through developments such as the U.S. push for Europe to stop imports of Russian natural gas in favor of more expensive U.S. liquefied natural gas.46
France, on its own, would not be capable of acting as a counterweight to the U.S. or China. France has some advantages, such as a capable military and a large nuclear sector, but lacks the economic and technological dynamism, as well as the raw size, necessary to become a global superpower. The EU as a whole, however, has a population of nearly 450 million—France has a population of 67 million—and a GDP of over $20 trillion, comparable to the U.S. and China. A European bloc would have plenty of its own problems, but could plausibly become an alternative pole of influence. If France could dominate a far more politically, militarily, and economically integrated European bloc, this would be the most plausible route for a globally relevant France.
Counterintuitively, Macron may be more capable of moving the needle on his European ambitions than on his French ones in the long run. If Macron cannot rapidly build LREM into a political machine that can gain the support of a wider coalition of French elites, mobilize his supporters, and produce an ideologically aligned and skilled successor, it seems unlikely that his presidency will have significantly altered France’s trajectory a few decades from now. Still, it may have accelerated the EU’s trajectory towards being an integrated bloc. At the end of Macron’s second term in 2027, a relatively young, pro-European, former two-term president of France might make an attractive candidate for President of the European Commission. Alternatively, he may do well in an informal position as a well-connected éminence grise who is able to muster social and political resources towards the creation of new EU bureaucracies.
Emmanuel Macron et al., “The Macron Doctrine,” Groupe d’études géopolitiques, November 16, 2020, https://geopolitique.eu/en/2020/11/16/the-macron-doctrine.
Sonia Phalnikar, “Macron banks on booming French economy as he eyes second term,” DW, March 31, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/macron-banks-on-booming-french-economy-as-he-eyes-second-term/a-61300742.
Pierre Morcos, “Macron’s European Moment,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, January 6, 2022, https://www.csis.org/analysis/macrons-european-moment.
Emmanuel Macron et al., “The Macron Doctrine,” Groupe d’études géopolitiques, November 16, 2020, https://geopolitique.eu/en/2020/11/16/the-macron-doctrine.
Romain Brunet, “Five years of Macron: France’s economy trickles down in drips and drops (Part 2 of 4),” France24, March 11, 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/france/20220311-trickle-down-in-drips-and-drops-the-french-economy-after-five-years-under-macron.
Pascal Nguyen and Cédric Van Appelghem, “France’s elite schools and their alumni networks: a flaw in the governance of French companies,” The Conversation, May 2, 2021, https://theconversation.com/frances-elite-schools-and-their-alumni-networks-a-flaw-in-the-governance-of-french-companies-159949.
Isabelle Chaperon, “The Rothschild years of Emmanuel Macron,” Le Monde, May 10, 2017, https://www.lemonde.fr/election-presidentielle-2017/article/2017/05/10/les-annees-rothschild-d-emmanuel-macron_5125204_4854003.html.
Stacy Meichtry and William Horobin, “The Calculated Rise of France’s Emmanuel Macron,” The Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-calculated-rise-of-frances-emmanuel-macron-1493404345.
Grégoire Biseau, “Avec Macron, l’Elysée décroche le poupon,” Libération, September 17, 2012, https://www.liberation.fr/france/2012/09/17/avec-macron-l-elysee-decroche-le-poupon_847010.
Roger Cohen, “Macron Closes Elite French School in Bid to Diversify Public Service,” The New York Times, April 8, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/08/world/europe/france-macron-ena-closing.html
Luis de Lencquesaing, “A World of Financial Models: The French Touch in Deregulation, 1980-2009,” Cornell International Affairs Review, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2009, http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/1272/a-world-of-financial-models-the-french-touch-in-deregulation-1980-2009.
Eleanor Halls, “Emmanuel Macron says France needs a King,” GQ, May 9, 2017, https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/emmanuel-macron-policies-beliefs-philosophy.
Blake Smith, “The Real Philosophy of Emmanuel Macron,” Foreign Policy, January 2, 2022, https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/01/02/emmanuel-macron-reelection-philosophy-ricoeur-rocard.
Hossein Mesbahian, “From Suspicion to Affirmation: Paul Ricoeur and a Genetic Phenomenology of Ideology,” Falsafeh, Vol. 36, No. 1, 2008, pgs. 21-47, https://jop.ut.ac.ir/article_28257_9a2ab3567950ebcb8fd061bf62f3d675.pdf
Joe Humphreys, “Paul Ricoeur: The philosopher behind Emmanuel Macron,” The Irish Times, May 30, 2017, https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/paul-ricoeur-the-philosopher-behind-emmanuel-macron-1.3094792
Nicolas Bamba, “Why Marine Le Pen's far-right political agenda has taken hold in French Mayotte,” France 24, April 19, 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20220419-why-marine-le-pen-s-far-right-political-agenda-has-taken-hold-in-french-mayotte.
Khatya Chhor, “The spectacular rise and fall of Hollande’s Socialist Party,” France 24, December 14, 2016, https://www.france24.com/en/20161209-hollande-rise-fall-future-france-socialist-party-macron-valls.
William Gilbert, “Legislative elections: an investiture committee already at work in the camp of En Marche!” Europe 1, April 26, 2017, https://www.europe1.fr/politique/elections-legislatives-un-comite-dinvestiture-deja-a-loeuvre-dans-le-camp-den-marche-3311846.
Romain Brunet, “Five years of Macron: A gap between words and action on presidential priorities (Part 4 of 4),” France 24, March 30, 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/france/20220330-five-years-of-macron-the-gap-between-words-and-action-on-president-s-priority-issues-part-4-of-4.
The full statement of the resignees can be read here: https://www.scribd.com/document/364376440/Tribune-des-100-democrates-de-La-Republique-en-marche?secret_password=xJkteUzA8njcE7s2k4WZ#from_embed
Ben Margulies, “What the municipal elections in France told us about the future of the French party system,” LSE Blogs, July 3, 2020, https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2020/07/03/what-the-french-municipal-elections-can-tell-us-about-the-future-of-the-french-party-system/
“France's Macron loses majority as defectors form new party,” BBC, May 19, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52721153.
The full paper is available to read here: https://www.aiforhumanity.fr/pdfs/MissionVillani_Report_ENG-VF.pdf
“Emmanuel Macron lance un « mouvement politique nouveau » baptisé « En marche ! »,” Le Monde, April 6, 2016, https://www.lemonde.fr/politique/article/2016/04/06/emmanuel-macron-lance-un-mouvement-politique-nouveau-baptise-en-marche_4897274_823448.html
Jacques Knight, “A Promenade with the Gilets Jaunes in Paris,” Palladium Magazine, December 14, 2018, https://palladiummag.com/2018/12/14/a-promenade-with-the-gilets-jaunes-in-paris/
“French President Macron’s ratings creep up amid town hall meetings,” France 24, January 25, 2019, https://www.france24.com/en/20190125-france-macron-ratings-national-debate-yellow-vests-opinion-polls-policy-economy-taxes.
Romain Brunet, “Five years of Macron: France’s economy trickles down in drips and drops (Part 2 of 4),” France24, March 11, 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/france/20220311-trickle-down-in-drips-and-drops-the-french-economy-after-five-years-under-macron
According to data from the World Bank. See here: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.KD.ZG?locations=FR
Romain Brunet, “Five years of Macron: France’s economy trickles down in drips and drops (Part 2 of 4),” France24, March 11, 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/france/20220311-trickle-down-in-drips-and-drops-the-french-economy-after-five-years-under-macron
Marc Hafstead and Roberton Williams, “Unemployment and environmental regulation in general equilibrium,” Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 160, April 2018, pp. 50-65, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0047272718300136.
Pauline Bock, “Emmanuel Macron’s Year of Cracking Heads,” Foreign Policy, November 29, 2019, https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/11/29/emmanuel-macrons-france-yellow-jackets-police-europe-year-of-cracking-heads/
Constant Méheut, “Macron Vows Ambitious Green Policies, Wooing the Left in Runoff”, The New York Times, April 16, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/16/world/europe/french-election-macron-le-pen.html.
Lara Bullens, “With traditional parties on the wane, French political landscape has become a ‘three-way split’,” France 24, April 11, 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20220411-with-traditional-parties-on-the-wane-french-political-landscape-has-become-a-three-way-split
Melissa Eddy, “France’s economy bounces back, while Germany’s falters under the strain of Omicron.” The New York Times, January 28, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/business/france-germany-economy.html.
Alberto Belladonna and Alessandro Gili, “How the European Green Deal Will Drive the Next Generation EU,” ISPI, June 24, 2020, https://www.ispionline.it/it/pubblicazione/how-european-green-deal-will-drive-next-generation-eu-26494.
“’We must rediscover the paths of international cooperation and build a much stronger Europe, one that can carry weight with its voice, with its strength, and with its principles’,” France in the United States, November 16, 2020, https://fr.franceintheus.org/spip.php?article9973.
Pierre Morcos, “What Is the Future for the French-German Engine?” Center for Strategic and International Studies, October 13, 2021, https://www.csis.org/analysis/what-future-french-german-engine.
Maïa de la Baume, “France plots an EU presidency en français, s’il vous plaît,” Politico, June 7, 2021, https://www.politico.eu/article/in-2022-make-french-language-great-again-eu-presidency/
“Versailles declaration: strengthening European sovereignty and reducing strategic dependencies,” France in the United States, March 15, 2022, https://franceintheus.org/spip.php?article10723.
“Xi Jinping Speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron on the Phone,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, February 16, 2022, https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/zxxx_662805/202202/t20220217_10643016.html.
Dhara Ranasinghe, “EXCLUSIVE-Inflation surge may lift French debt costs by 4-5 bln euros in 2022 -Scope,” Nasdaq, April 19, 2022, https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/exclusive-inflation-surge-may-lift-french-debt-costs-by-4-5-bln-euros-in-2022-scope.
Samo Burja and Matt Ellison, “Why America Prefers a Weak and Peaceful Europe,” The National Interest, June 30, 2019, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-america-prefers-weak-and-peaceful-europe-64826
Romain Fathi, “Why the Australia-France submarine deal collapse was predictable,” The Conversation, September 24, 2021, https://theconversation.com/why-the-australia-france-submarine-deal-collapse-was-predictable-168526
Paul Taylor, “France’s double game in Libya,” Politico, April 17, 2019, https://www.politico.eu/article/frances-double-game-in-libya-nato-un-khalifa-haftar/
Norimitsu Onishi, “Will American Ideas Tear France Apart? Some of Its Leaders Think So,” The New York Times, February 9, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/09/world/europe/france-threat-american-universities.html