Features

Macron reshuffles cabinet, not policies

The French president has reshuffled his cabinet amid his plunging approval ratings.

918-Macron-634
Macron: a clumsy reshuffle

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, reshuffled his cabinet on Tuesday in the face of "plummeting approval ratings", says Zachary Young on Politico. The resignation of his interior minister, Grard Collomb, on 3 October the third minister to go in as manymonths "added to animpression of mounting disarray".

This wasn't helped by a reshuffle that "dragged onfor 13 days" with five candidates reportedly refusing ministerial posts. Collomb has been replaced by Christophe Castaner, the erstwhile head ofMacron's La Rpublique En Marche! party. In total, eight new faces were brought in and a further six cabinet ministers have switched portfolios.

Overall, this was a "cautious reshuffle", says Ben Hall in the Financial Times, "designed less to relaunch" the presidency than to preserve a "political balance between former socialists and moderate conservatives vying for influence". More generally, the message that accompanied it is that Macron is "not for turning" when it comes to his ambitious reform agenda, says The Times. This makes sense.

Although hispopularity ratings have slumped to around 33%, this owes more to "disaffection with his style" he is seen as arrogant than his policies, for which polls suggest public support. He has already pushed through "substantial reforms" of the labour market, tax system and railways without triggering mass street protests and strikes. This is just as well, since many reforms are "decades overdue". National debt is expected to hit 98.6% of GDP this year, growth is 1.7% and unemployment is at 9.1%.

Macron, who now plans to tackle the benefits and pension system, will be hoping that earlier reforms bear fruit soon, adds Hall. His problem is that he is a newcomer who, so far, has failed to define a "coherent political vision" which supports his "neither left nor right" slogan. Unfairly, he is widely seen as "a president for the rich". That needs to change.

Recommended

Plenty more Brexit arguments to be settled yet
Brexit

Plenty more Brexit arguments to be settled yet

Many important negotiations remain to be sealed in our deal with the EU. “No deal is better than a bad deal” is the way to play it, says Matthew Lynn
10 Jan 2021
Will 2021 hold one last deflation scare?
Global Economy

Will 2021 hold one last deflation scare?

With many looking ahead to a world of high inflation, John Stepek looks at a couple of potential scenarios that could give the world one last deflatio…
28 Dec 2020
Will a stronger euro ruin Europe's rally?
European stockmarkets

Will a stronger euro ruin Europe's rally?

International investors have been buying into European stocks, driving the euro higher. But that surge now risks dampening the recovery that started i…
21 Sep 2020
No deal is the best deal for Britain – and the EU too
Brexit

No deal is the best deal for Britain – and the EU too

Europe has a lot to gain from a thriving, independent Britain, says Matthew Lynn.
6 Sep 2020

Most Popular

Bitcoin: fool’s gold or the new gold?
Bitcoin

Bitcoin: fool’s gold or the new gold?

With bitcoin hitting new highs last week, and close to becoming a mainstream investment, is it really gold for the 21st century?
15 Jan 2021
Forget austerity – governments and central banks have no intention of cutting back
Global Economy

Forget austerity – governments and central banks have no intention of cutting back

Once the pandemic is over will we return to an era of austerity to pay for all the stimulus? Not likely, says John Stepek. The money will continue to …
15 Jan 2021
The MoneyWeek Podcast: bitcoin special
Bitcoin

The MoneyWeek Podcast: bitcoin special

Merryn talks to bitcoin experts Dominic Frisby and Charlie Morris to get the lowdown on the cryptocurrency to find out why it's such a huge global phe…
15 Jan 2021
Free 6 issue trial then continue to