President and PM now have to convince French nation

As we enter what the Elysée Palace is calling the “second act” of the Macron presidency, some attempt is being made to continue reforms in France that would enable it to compete better against its main rivals.

The administration plans to make it harder for people to claim unemployment benefit, and will cut help for those who were on higher incomes before they lost their jobs.

Also, to cut the French economy’s reliance on employees on short-term contracts, the government intends to make it less attractive for firms to make such arrangements.

The reforms are forecast to save €3.4bn by 2021, though Mr Macron’s Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, says the purpose is not to save money, but to reduce unemployment.

Mr Macron caused controversy last year by telling a jobless man that if he were to cross the street he might find work.

These are ideological messages, and ideas whose time should have come in France long ago.

The ideology they express – promoting the responsibility of the individual and diminishing the role of the state – comes from the right, and ...

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