In his only mass rally on April 2 in Paris, Macron cited Brexit to suggest that that the unthinkable “can happen” and that his main rival and Eurosceptic Marine Le Pen could pip him to the post.
Elected in 2017 on promises to reboot the EU’s second-biggest economy with a shock of pro-business reforms by cutting taxes, easing labour laws and selling France to foreign investors, few would deny he has notched up some key successes.
Under his watch, France’s economy outperformed other major European countries as well as the broader euro zone, bouncing back from the worst of the Covid crisis with the strongest growth in more than five decades.
Unemployment fell to lowest level since before financial crisis
Meanwhile, labour reforms making it easier to hire and fire have helped push France’s stubbornly high unemployment to the lowest level since the start of the 2008 global financial crisis. The fact that “le chômage” is not an electoral issue says it all, he argues. The goal now is “full employment” by the end of his second term.
France “start up economy” has become more open to business during the Macron presidency, clinching pole position in Europe for foreign direct investment and record highs in the creation of new companies. “We did it”, he told a crowd of 30,000 supporters in Paris.
However, the trade deficit has swelled to record levels and public debt is now at an eye-watering 115 per cent of GDP after Macron promised to cushion the economy at the start of the pandemic “whatever it costs”.