Macron in the Elysée
Just over a year after being elected French president, Emmanuel Macron has been awarded the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen. The jurors said they were honoring Macron in recognition of his vision of a new Europe. But without Berlin's approval Macron's dream will remain unfulfilled and the award will be no more than a consolation prize, commentators point out.
Employees of the French state railway SNCF began a three-month industrial action a week ago, bringing train traffic to a halt across much of the country. In protest against Macron's reform plans, which among other things aim to abolish privileges for SNCF employees, the rail workers plan to strike two out of every five workdays until the end of June. Is this industrial dispute driven by outdated egoism or commitment to the public good?
The Macron government wants to restructure the highly-indebted state-owned French rail company SNCF. The former Air France CEO Jean-Cyril Spinetta, whom the government has tasked with the job, presented proposals for the reform last week. Commentators focus on steps aimed at privatisation and liberalisation of the rail sector, as well as the terms of employment for new employees.
Germany's new Network Enforcement Act that obliges social media to block "clearly illicit content" came into force at the start of the year. France's President Emmanuel Macron has also announced a new law that would force media platforms to be more transparent about the people controlling them and sponsors of content.
In future posted workers from other EU countries are to receive the same wages and work under the same terms as their local colleagues, the EU ministers of labour and social affairs have agreed in the negotiations on the reform of the posted workers' directive. Finally the EU is focusing on protecting foreign workers, some observers comment approvingly, while others see problems with the reform.
The Elysée Palace has commended Emmanuel Macron's first 100 days in office noting that the French president has passed three important laws and displayed strong leadership on the international stage. Macron is, however,
Paris and Italy have announced their intention of reaching an agreement in the dispute over the sale of the STX France shipyard in Nantes by the end of September. French President Emmanuel Macron had temporarily nationalized the shipyard to prevent a takeover by an Italian majority shareholder. In the meantime Paris has said it will no longer block the new shareholder structure. Commentators conclude that the affair has caused considerable damage.
The French president's popularity ratings continue to plummet. According to a YouGov survey published on Thursday only 36 percent of voters have a favourable view of Macron while 49 percent take a negative view of his work. A survey by the research institute Ifop also gave him poor ratings. Should the president consider a change of course?
In the dispute over Macron's austerity plans for the army, Pierre de Villiers has stepped down as France's chief of staff. The general believes the country's security is in danger and has sharply criticised planned cuts to the tune of 850 million euros - prompting Macron to demand "a sense of duty and discretion". A highly revealing power struggle, the press concludes.
Speaking to both chambers of the parliament in Versailles Palace, French President Emmanuel Macron said he wants to put France on a "radical new path". Among other things he plans to reform the electoral law, reduce the number of MPs and lift the state of emergency imposed in 2015. Views on the content of his speech and the manner in which it was delivered vary widely in the press.
Four French ministers left the cabinet within the space of 24 hours at the start of the week. Three of them are accused of using EU Parliament money to pay assistants who worked part of their time for their party, while Macron's close confidant Richard Ferrand of LREM faces allegations of cronyism. The president announced their replacements on Wednesday. This is not the time for rash judgements or moralising, the press admonishes.
A comfortable start for Emmanuel Macron's party: La République en Marche and its partner MoDem have obtained 350 of the 577 seats in France's National Assembly. Commentators discuss the risks such a concentration of power entails and ask who can exercise a control function vis-à-vis the new French government.
"We don't want a majority to live a peaceful life, but to bring about reform", La République en Marche has announced ahead of the second round of the parliamentary elections. President Macron's party is set to gain an absolute majority in the National Assembly on Sunday. Commentators discuss the upheavals France is experiencing, comparing them with events of the past.
A great sense of relief prevails in Europe's press after Emmanuel Macron's clear victory against Marine Le Pen - tinged, however, with doubts in view of the huge tasks that await France's new president. Can Macron live up to the expectations? And does he have the right formulat to push through the reforms he has promised?
France's new president Emmanuel Macron is pushing for EU reform aimed at bringing Europe closer to its citizens and bolstering the Eurozone through euro bonds and the appointment of a European economy minister. Many commentators express their confidence in Macron's chances of succeeding but others are more sceptical and are already picking up on resistance from Berlin.
Great things are expected of the German-French duo: after the EU's
France's new President Macron appointed Edouard Philippe as prime minister on Monday. Although he is a member of the conservative Republicans, like Macron the relatively unknown mayor of Le Havre attended the elite ENA school and he is said to share many of the president's views. Commentators take a closer look at the new PM.