Is Macron moving France forward?

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Emmanuel Macron, since being elected French President in 2017, has had several aims to move France forward. From an economic background, Macron put his main focus on encouraging start-ups, building on international trade agreements to further French business and lowering corporate tax, making him known as ‘Le Président des Riches’. Whilst these may be key reasons for his support during the Presidential Elections, these may not be so popular now. According to a recent IFOP Survey,  Macron has a recorded popularity loss of 10%, which was much higher loss than previous French president, François Hollande. Macron may well have the potential to drive France forward, however little is going to change if he lacks support, particularly amongst young people.

The development of a new political movement ‘En Marche’ can be considered as a significant step forward in the right direction from France. This is because Macron seems to not focus on solely gaining the popularity of the country, but also policies which he thinks are the best for the France, as seen by his views on the French language. Whilst some support the use of English, as seen by the popularity of American songs, a majority remain patriotic and stand by their own language. This has raised several problems; firstly, with Macron’s bilingual ability and occasional Franglais and secondly, with francophone countries, who do not seem to share the same cultural identity as France. The question whether Macron has moved France forward with his view on the French language is highly questionable. Whilst French remains a key aspect to his career, his use of Franglais and public speaking in English seem, to a certain extent, to have left behind the distinctiveness of the French language.

Although Macron is put in a favourable position for negotiations due to his bilingual skills, his ability to communicate with international leaders fluently, seen recently with Trump and Trudeau, remains equally problematic. Despite the use of ‘Franglais’ is becoming increasingly popular, many Frenchmen hold the view that it somewhat undermines their own language. This can be seen by the controversy caused when Macron tweeted: “La démocratie est le système le plus bottom up de la terre”, using English word ‘bottom up’. While some may consider that Macron is trying to remain up-to-date with the times, Macron appears to not move France forward. This is reflected in other Francophone countries, such as Burkina Faso, where Macron is attempting to promote the French language. Initially, this appears to be a potential way to unite communities, a similar aim to his promotion of service in France for young people, however these have been more divisive. The promotion of the French language has caused damage in Francophone countries as it has failed to accept the multiple cultures and identities which are different to France.

During the Presidential Elections in 2017, there were many conversations about the final two candidates: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. Some may suggest that Macron was not elected to move France forward, but rather as an alternative to an extreme right party: the Front National. Since the terrorist attacks in Normandy and Paris, the Front National has become a stronger political force in France and many do not feel represented by its radical views, which may be considered a strength for Macron. For some, the fact that Macron is the youngest President of France since Napoleon sets him apart from other leaders as he is able to connect with the youth in an innovative way. This can be seen by his documentary: ‘Les Coulisses d’une Victoire’ which highlights the importance of a vibrant young support team and social media throughout his presidential campaign. One could say that Macron hopes to move France forward as he appreciates the contributions from young people, however, in doing so, it does raise into question the extent to which older members of society are listened to.

As Macron is often described as “liberal-centrist”, it goes without saying that he has initiatives to try and develop France to become the best it can be in a changing world. Even though some may argue that he may have come to power as the ‘lesser of two evils’, he has succeeded in his attempts to make changes in France in a short period of time, with these not only being in the economic sector. Macron’s tactical advantage of using the support of young people may help him achieve his goals for moving France forward, however it does make him dependant on the youth’s continued help.

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