These are the challenges that await

Francois Hollande (l) congratulates Emmanuel Macron (r) on his re-election: Macron won over right-wing populist Marine Le Pen. (Source: Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool/Reuters Images)

This is Macron’s second term. It begins on May 14 and runs until 2027. During his first term from 2017 to 2022, Macron embarked on delicate reforms in the aftermath of the election, in particular those on the labor market. This time, the 44-year-old is likely to be more cautious to avoid social unrest. Several major projects await it. An overview:

Law to increase purchasing power

Macron’s defeated challenger, right-wing populist Marine Le Pen, has put the financial concerns of many French people at the center of her election campaign. Macron now wants to pass a law to increase purchasing power from the summer. Plans include adjusting pensions for inflation and higher salaries for civil servants and teachers.

Low-income households should be supported with food stamps. Macron wants to stick to the brake on gas and electricity prices. The fuel discount of 18 cents per liter needs to be extended, but at the same time adjusted so that the people who need it most benefit the most. Resistance to this project will probably come from conservatives, who fear for state finances.

Fighting the climate crisis with wind farms and nuclear power

Towards the end of the election campaign, Macron admitted that his climate policy had fallen short of expectations. This is why he wants to entrust the future Prime Minister with the responsibility for the main directions of environmental policy. In order to reduce CO2 emissions and at the same time become independent from Russian oil and gas, Macron wants to develop nuclear and renewable energies at the same time. Up to 14 new nuclear reactors and 50 offshore wind farms are to be built.

France had campaigned for Brussels to classify nuclear energy as sustainable in order to attract private investors. The energy efficiency of buildings is also to be promoted.

New start in pension reform

Currently, the retirement age in France is 62 and there are 42 different pension schemes. Macron wants to raise the retirement age to 65 and abolish special schemes, while taking into account certain professional categories. Towards the end of the election campaign, he declared that retirement at 65 was “not a dogma”. Macron justifies the need for the reform by saying that it is the only way to continue financing the social system.

In an attempt at reform during his first term, Macron met with massive resistance. Due to the pandemic, the project has been put on hold. This time, the President is planning intensive consultations with the social partners. These should begin in June. A bill should be presented in the fall at the earliest.

Cohesion in Europe – especially with Germany

France will hold the presidency of the Council of the EU until the end of June, a chance for Macron to advance his projects. The war in Ukraine gave new urgency to its quest for “strategic autonomy”. France is committed to expanding European military cooperation while redefining the relationship with NATO.

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