What will France's job market reform achieve?

French President Macron plans to present his eagerly awaited reform for increasing labour market flexibility at the end of August. Commentators discuss what's at stake.

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De Tijd (BE) /

All or nothing not just for Macron

If Macron doesn't pass the labour reform test the repercussions will be felt across Europe, De Tijd is convinced:

“If the labour market reform isn't successful Macron won't just be unpopular, but also politically weakened. The consequences will also be felt outside of France. Macron wants to play a key role in shaping Europe and is counting on Berlin's support. ... But Berlin wants to see proof that Paris really is pushing through reforms that will really get its economy back on track. By reforming the labour market Macron can send an important message. And if on top of that he can get his budget under control he'll have Berlin on his side and the time-honoured French-German tandem can get to work on improving Europe once more.”

Libération (FR) /

Fair distribution of relief and burdens

France's labour market reform must be well-balanced, Libération admonishes:

“Not everything about this project is illegitimate. Some of the liberalisation it involves is desirable - provided it takes place in the context of mutual concessions. Greater flexibility among workers, for example, must be balanced out by improved rights for the unemployed. Direct negotiation between a company and its employees? All fine and good. But it must not be forgotten that the negotiating partners are by their very nature unequal.”