Macron declares war on poverty in France

French President Emmanuel Macron has presented a plan on fighting poverty in France. The plan includes expenditures to the tune of eight billion euros and shifts the focus from financial aid to social support. Macron is pulling all the right levers, some commentators write approvingly. For others the president has started to zigzag.

Open/close all quotes
La Croix (FR) /

A praiseworthy change of course

La Croix praises the idea behind the move:

“The desire to simplify the welfare system in view of the fact that the current confused state of affairs is not only expensive but also daunting for those who are supposed to benefit from it, for example. A further positive aspect is Macron's goal of fighting 'social determinism': 'I don't want a plan to help poor people to live better in poverty. I want them to be given the choice, and the possibility, to escape poverty.' This constitutes a correction in the president's discourse. He has long spoken of 'encouraging' entrepreneurs while at the same time 'protecting' the weakest. Now, he says, he wants both to be actors in social development.”

L'Opinion (FR) /

Zigzag course just like Hollande's

The French president's political line is no clearer now, L'Opinion criticises:

“Is this the sign that we've entered a new cycle of the president's mandate, a left-wing, social phase, after the orders and the reform of the [state-run railway service] SNCF were caricatured as being antisocial? In that case it would be an indication that the president has given up the policy of 'at the same time' so dear to him, replacing actions that are both right-wing and left-wing by alternation between right-wing and left-wing measures. The problem is that that's not a political line: under François Hollande it was called the zigzag policy.”