What Emmanuel Macron is promising for next five years

Now he has been elected, Mr Macron’s big challenge will be to make a difference with his policies and prove wrong those critics who fear his presidency will just mean ‘more of the same’.

8 May 2017
By Oliver Rowland

He stands for a centrist platform, drawing policies from both left and right that he believes can give a new hope and dynamism to France.

He is also a committed European – and likely to take a firm stance on any ‘have cake and eat it’ approach to the Brexit talks.

The formal passing of power to Mr Macron is expected to take place on Sunday – after which his sights will be set on the parliamentary elections on June 11 and 18, when he will be hoping his En Marche! party will win enough MPs to give him a strong mandate for his policies.

Here are some of the key things he is promising to do in the next five years.

 

Work

Mr Macron says he wants to find the right balance between protecting workers and giving more freedom to businesses. He also says France must be more flexible and able to adapt to change.

He would reduce the social charges paid on workers’ salaries, by about €500 net per year on a monthly salary of €2,200 net, with the aim that the difference ends up in workers’ pockets.

The prime d’activité benefit will be increased for people on the minimum wage, so they receive an extra €100 net a month.

He will bring back exoneration from social charges on overtime.

The employers’ part of social charges will be reduced, especially on lower salaries: 10 percentage points less for a person on minimum wage, six points less for someone on €3,000 gross per month (with the result that employers save €1,800 a year to €2,200 a year at those salary levels).

There will be a ‘bonus-penalty’ system with respect to the employers’ charges towards unemployment benefit, with employers who make ‘too much use of short contracts’ paying more and those who create stable jobs paying less.

Once every five years, workers will be entitled to resign and claim unemployment benefit, but they will lose it if they do not show sufficient evidence of looking for work or they refuse reasonable offers.

There will be an ‘unprecedented’ effort to provide training – with a million extra places for young people and a million for underqualified unemployed people.

The 35-hour week remains in place, but firms may negotiate agreements to modify this.

Employers will benefit from a ‘right to make a mistake’ with regard to declarations – for example at present if you forget to declare a Christmas bonus to Urssaf you can be fined; but by invoking the ‘right to make a mistake’ you could be let off. Sanctions will only be enforced in cases where wrongdoing is ‘deliberate, repeated or particularly serious’.

Impôt sur les sociétés (corporation tax) to be lowered from 33.3% to 25%, the EU average.

The self-employed will be entitled to unemployment benefit.

Their social charges will be lowered and the RSI will be abolished “because it does not work”.

Micro-entreprise ceilings will be doubled.

Random tests will be carried out in firms to see that equal pay between men and women is being respected.

 

Retirement

A universal pension system with the same rules for calculating pensions will progressively be put in place. Changing jobs or sectors will have no effect on pension rights. The retirement age and the level of pensions will stay the same as now.

Allocation de solidarité aux personnes âgées (Aspa) top-up for pensioners to be increased by €100/month.

 

Spending power 

80% of households, apart from the wealthiest, will be exonerated from taxe d’habitation.

 

Other ideas to boost the economy

A €10bn fund will help finance innovative industries.

A €50bn investment plan will go towards helping everyone have opportunities to improve their qualifications, green energy, digital technologies, modernising public services and renovating towns. €5bn of this will go to help modernise farms and the government will support farmers in their negotiations with companies for a fair price for their produce.

There will be a ‘massive effort’ to boost opportunities for apprenticeships.

All official state procedures should be able to be done online, without having to go in person and official services should open late and on Saturdays.

At least one quarter of the French departments will be removed in areas where they can be attached to large urban areas.

 

Environment 

France will be the leader in the fight against harm to health from pesticides and other chemicals such as so-called ‘endocrine disruptors’.

France will become the world leader in research on clean energy by giving incentives to experts to come and work in France. By 2022, half of the produce used in school or work canteens must be organic, or otherwise produced in eco-friendly ways or from local sources.

A new €1,000 bonus for buying an eco-friendly car will help halve the number of days of atmospheric pollution.

 

Security

10,000 new police will be recruited and there will be a new ‘daily security police’ service whose officers will get to know their local patch in depth.

Police and gendarmes will have new powers to ban criminals from entering an area where they committed crimes.

‘Incivilities’ like insulting or harassing people, acts of petty vandalism or even ‘spitting’ will be immediately punished with fines.

All punishments ordered by a court will be served and 15,000 new prison places will be built.

A new permanent ‘general staff’ for intelligence, national security and fighting terrorism will be created directly attached to the president’s office.

France will work with its EU partners to create a force of 5,000 EU border guards.

 

Education 

Priority given to primary school so all children can read, write and count when they arrive in secondary school.

Mobile phones will be banned from primary schools.

‘Bi-language’ options in collège, European streams and the teaching of Greek and Latin will be brought back.

After school study in collège will be offered by volunteers.

Libraries will open in the evening and weekend.

A ‘culture pass’ will offer €500 of cultural activities to 18-year-olds.

 

Secularism 

Religious establishments that condone terrorism will be closed.

Training in secular, Republican values and French will be organised for religious leaders.

Knowledge of different religions will be improved by schools giving dedicated classes in le fait religieux (factual knowledge).

 

Health 

Glasses and hearing aids and dental prostheses to be completely reimbursed.

Number of multi-disciplinary medical centres to be doubled to fight the ‘medical deserts’ problem.

€100 extra a month for adults on the Allocation Adult Handicapé.

 

Europe

France to promote reform of Europe, with initiatives like having a budget for the euro zone and the euro zone to have its own parliament and its own finance minister. Creating a new European Defence Fund to finance joint military equipment programmes. Setting up a permanent European general HQ. Creating a digital single market and an energy single market.

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